Skip to main content

Full text of "The life and times of C. G. Memminger"

See other formats


THE 



LIFE AND TIAES 



OF 



C. G. AEAAINGER 



BY 



HENRY D. CAPERS, A. A., 

AUTHOR OF "BELLEVUK," "HISTORICAL SKETCHES IN NORTH CAROLINA," ETC. 



man among a thousand I^awc % found. 

Ecclcs. mi., 28. 



^^^> ^- " ^ 

RICHMOND, VA. : 
EVERETT WADDEY CO., PUBLISHERS. 

1893. 



r 3 



Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1893, by 

EVERETT WADDEY CO., 
In the office of Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C. 



Electrotyped, printed and bound by 
Everett Waddey Co. 



r 3uniar: 

wfyose er\couragenr\ei\t ar\d ger\erous support I 
\\avQ beei\ enabled to corr\pile th\is record of a lor\g ar\d 
Useful life; wt\o, as a strong lir\k ir\ tl^e cJ\air\ tt\at bir\ds 
tl\e present to th^e past, preserves r^ar^y graces of cfyar- 
acter wl^icl\ descend to posterity as a priceless legacy; 
ar\d tl\roUgl-\ tyrr\, to tt\e yoUt^ ar\d th^e rr\ar\l\ood of rr\y 
country, do I respectfully dedicate tfyis work, ar\ Offer- 
ir\g at tt\e Sl^rii\e of Patriotisrr\. 

HBHRY D. CAPERS. 



96031 



Y7 1 f HE period immediately succeeding the recognition 
*** of the United States as a government in the family 
of nations, was one of active emigration to the land an 
nounced as the abiding place of 



The genius of our institutions of government had been 
thus represented and declared among the people of Europe 
in the aphorism above quoted. Whether this declaration 
was but the proclaimed theory of the French Jacobin, or 
whether it was more of a fact than a fancy, I will not at 
tempt to discuss. Nevertheless this is a fact. As in the 
early Colonial days, so at this time thousands from one 
consideration or another moving them, left the plains, the 
hills, and the mountains of the Continent and the King 
dom of Great Britain, to find new homes in the land of 
promise beyond the great Atlantic Ocean. 

From among these emigrants the States forming the 
New Confederation received some of their best citizens: 
men and women who have left their impress upon our 
civilization and who, by their works, are declared to the 
living and to the generations yet to learn of their vir 
tues and to honor their memories. 

South Carolina received to her generous bosom many 
of these worthy people, and has in the record of their his 
tory for the past century, reason to be grateful to the 
Providence that made them her sons and daughters. 



Introductory. 



The history of the State cannot be written without 
detailing their virtues of manhood and womanhood. 
Among these, none have become more illustrious, none 
have served their country more faithfully, none have lejt 
a better record for the careful study of posterity than he, 
whose history I am endeavoring to preserve. 

History is, at best, but a well stated narrative of facts 
It is not fiction, however much these facts may have as 
sociated with them the circumstances of romance. To 
gather the facts of a personal history running through a 
half century of active public life, is by no means an easy 
task, even to one ivho may have been the contemporary of 
the person whose history he would write ; but when one 
is dependent upon the records of a public kind, that have 
been scattered or destroyed, and upon the kindness of those 
ivho were actors in the scenes of so long a drama, the 
difficulties that embarrass his undertaking become so 
great that lie is at times almost in despair. It is much 
to be regretted that our great men do not leave to posterity 
at least an autobiographical sketch, a journal, if you 
please, containing the leading events of their lives ; for 
the saying of Doctor Samuel Johnson is, to an extent, true, 

"!&. man s life fs best mtritten by f^tmsclf." 

These lives are so active, and their engagements so 
exacting, that there is but little time for this. Fortunately 
the writer has been enabled to gather the facts of this his 
tory from the most reliable sources. Whenever he has 
only a tradition, it will be so stated, and whenever he 
makes a statement as a fact, the reader may depend 
upon this statement being supported by the most undoubted 
authority. 




LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 




CHAPTER 
parentage aijd Qtyildtyood 



[N the ninth day of January, one thousand eight 
hundred and three, was born in the town of Nay- 
hingen, in the Dukedom of Wiirtemberg, Ger 
many, CHRISTOPHER GUSTAVUS MEMMINGER, only son of 
Christopher Godfrey Memminger, Quartermaster of the 
Prince-Elector s Battalion of Foot Jaegers, or Riflemen, and 
Eberhardina Elisabeth Memminger, whose maiden name 
had been Kohler. 

The following certificate of the birth and baptism of the 
remarkable man whose history I am writing, is taken from 
the Register of Baptisms and duly signed by the Deacon in 
charge at the time it was executed. The certificate, in the 
German language, is as follows: 

$ a it f f rf) e i|n . 

<en 9. Sanuar, 1803, rcurbe fc,ter efjeltdj yieboren unb ben 10. teffelben SKonotS gttauft: 

GfyHftopl) uftaw. 
<Dte Gltern finb: 

>crr (Sfyrtftopb, (Sottfrteb 9J2 1 m m ing er, duavtter 9D?ctiler bep bem (^urfurfttic^en 5 U ^ 
3io;er SBataUton, unb gr. (iber^arbtna CSltfabet^ a cjeb. S?o f)Iertn. 



SEaufjeugcn warcn: 

, v J{at^oenT)anbter unb 2Betger6er, unb beffen G^efra 

abtna SJJagbalena, ro|eltern, unb gran abtna (Saugerin, (SoIbarbeiterS i 
gart (iljefrau. 

CDajj ovftel;enbe Slngabe bem ^tefigen Xaufbudje conform fty bejeugt. 
W a \) i) i n g e n, b. 16. ^anuac, 1803. 

(etaneb) 

W. 1) u 1 1 e n $ o f f e r, 



8 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

Wratt station. 

On the 9th day of January, one thousand eight hundred and three, was 
born in this town, and on the tenth day of the same month was baptized, 
Christopher Gustavus. His parents are Herr Christopher Godfrey Mem- 
minger, Quartermaster of the Prince-Elector s Battalion of Foot Jregers 
(or Riflemen), and Mrs. Eberhardina Elisabeth Memminger, whose 
maiden name was Kohler. 

The sponsors of the child were his grandparents namely, Mr. John 
Michael Kohler, a member of the Town Council, and by trade a tanner, 
and his wife, Mrs. Sabina Magdalena Kohler, together with Mrs. Sabina 
Gauger, wife of Mr. Gauger, a goldsmith at Stuttgart. 

The foregoing is a true extract from and conformable to the Register 
gf Baptisms. In witness whereof I have signed these presents with my 
name. 

(Signed) M. DUTTENIIOFEE, Deacon. 

Nayhingen, 1ft January, 1803. 

His father was stationed at the time at Heilbronn, which, 
he informs us, was a garrisoned town some twenty-seven 
miles from the home where he had left his wife, for the dis 
charge of a soldier s duty. In anticipation of this most im 
portant social event to him, the gallant officer had obtained 
a furlough and was at home with his precious loves. The 
following letter, written by him to his sister, is so admirable 
an expression of the father s natural joy, that I give it place 
here, the only and sufficient evidence of his worth as a man 
which could be asked for. The letter is in the German lan 
guage and in the handwriting of one who was evidently a 
good pensman as well as an accomplished gentleman. While 
the translation may not convey the elegance and force of the 
German language, it will express, without being too liberal, 
the congratulations of the good father, and plainly indicates 
that Godfrey Memminger was a man of education, while the 
tender solicitude and respectful address to his sister evidence 
a refinement of feeling characteristic of the gentleman every 
where. Indeed, it could hardly have been otherwise, since 
his father was an official of no mean rank in the University 
of Babenhausen 



HIS PARENTAGE AND CHILDHOOD. 9 

To MADAME GOLDSMITH GAUGER 

(Maiden name Memminger), at Stuttgart : 

Dear Sister, I am at present for a few days on furlough and with my 
dear wife, therefore I answer your kind letter received just before leav 
ing my post. 

I now have the pleasure to inform you with the agreeable news that 
we have born unto us on the 9th of the month, between the hours of 10 
and 11 at night, a fine healthful son. . . . He was christened in my 
absence by the name of Christoph Gustav; his sponsors were father and 
mother-in-law and yourself by proxy. ... I hope and trust that you 
will excuse me with the confidence I have in you and of the friendship 
and sister s love which you will bring to the responsible situation of 
sponsor. 

To-morrow morning I shall return to our garrison in Heilbronn (27 
miles from Kayhingen). In my next furlough I intend to ask for four 
teen days and intend to see you. . . . 

We salute you and your dear husband affectionately and remain 
Your true brother, 

GOTFRIED. 

This letter is dated at Nayhingen, January 16, 1803. 
It will be noticed that it is signed with the christened name 
of the writer; a custom, I am informed, that prevails in 
Germany among the military and well-born. Alas! the gal 
lant officer of the Prince-Elector s battalion was not destined 
to secure another leave of absence, but met the fate of a 
brave soldier. Within one month from the time that he re 
turned to his post of duty, a grave at Heilbronn became the 
resting place of Christopher Godfrey Memminger, and the 
soldier was off duty forever. 

The name Memminger appears to be not only well known 
in the kingdom of Wiirteinberg, but several members of the 
family have at different times reached distinction there and 
elsewhere in the German Empire. 

Johann Friedrich Memminger, the grandfather of Chris 
topher Gustavus, was at one time an officer of rank in the 
? University of Babenhausen. 

Henri Memminger, the son of Gustavus, and the first 
cousin of our Mr. Memminger, appears to have achieved 



10 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

considerable distinction in letters. The following notice of 
his death appeared in the Independence Beige, a newspaper 
published at Brussels. I find it attached to a letter from 
Mr. Memminger s uncle, addressed to him at Charleston, 
and dated at Verdun, 1st of December, 1855. 

" M. Henri Memminger, I un des directeurs du ceUebre 6stablissement de 
Seraing, est mort a Jemappes le 4 fevrier dernier. M. Memminger n6 ;! 
Mayence en 1791 habitait la Belgique depuis 1853. A cette epoque, il etait 
directeur des bateaux a vapeur de Mayence a Cologne, les premiers qui 
aient te etablis sur le Rhin. C est alors que M. Cockerille le fit venir a 
Liege, ou il dirigea la construction des premiers bateaux a vapeur en 
Belgique. 

" M.^Memminger possedait toutes les langues de 1 Europe et les parlait 
avec facilite; il pouvait ainsi diriger toute la correspondance de Petablisse- 
inent sans jamais recourir a. un interprcte. 

" Malgre see nombreuses occupations, M. Memminger trouvait encore des 
loisirs pour s occuper de 1 etude des beaux-arts et des lettres. Verse dans 
la connaissance des auteurs anciens, il ne se contentait pas de parler les 
divers langues de 1 Europe, il en possedait la litterature d une manicre re- 
marquable." 

M. Henri Memminger etait neveu d un de nos concitoyens, M. Mem 
minger. 

I am informed that there is a handsome monument in 
the city of Brussels to the memory of Mr. Henri Memmin 
ger near La Gare du Nord. 

The years immediately following the death of Godfrey 
Memminger were eventful in Europe. Napoleon was waging 
his wonderful wars of conquest and carrying his victorious 
armies through the German States to leave in their rear the 
ruins of once happy homes and the wretchedness that fol 
lows the tramp of contending hosts. Thousands, who could 
secure the means, were leaving their fatherland and through 
many adversities were seeking release from their woes in 
the land of Washington. 

Among these was John . Michael Kohler, who, with his 
family, emigrated to America, and reached, first, the city of 
Charleston, then among the most prominent seaports of the 



HIS PARENTAGE AND CHILDHOOD. 11 

United States. Accompanying Mr. Kohler was his daugh 
ter, Eberhardina Memminger, and her only son, Christopher 
Gustavus. Shortly after reaching Charleston the gentle 
mother, worn with her long and exhausting voyage, suc 
cumbed to disease, and left her bright boy, the sole repre. 
sentative of his name in America, to join her gallant hus 
band beyond the stars. 

Of this mother I am not informed, except in a single sen 
tence in a letter written to Mr. Memminger in 1837, by an 
aunt, the sister of his father, who speaks of her as a lovely 
woman. The reader will pardon me here for expressing a 
regret that I cannot give more information as to the history 
of the mother. It may be readily conjectured, however, 
that she possessed a decided character, transmitting by a 
law of heredity almost invariable in its action, her mental 
endowments and moral graces to her only son. Great and 
good men are only the offspring of great and good mothers. 
So well established is this fact that I apprehend it would be 
difficult to find in the history of the human family a marked 
exception to the general rule. Natural laws, ever acting to 
produce the evolution of man, remain the same with the 
human family as they are recognized to exist and to act 
among inferior animals. The mother of Memminger the 
infant, was also the mother of Memminger the man of earn 
est purpose, commanding ability, and a strong physical con 
stitution. 

Our higher nature whether we are pleased to consider it 
the expression of intellectual endowments alone, or whether 
we would associate with it a " supervising deity," called the 
soul is but a gem held within a casket, not alone, but so 
intimately associated and directly connected with the casket, 
that the frailty of the latter is the imperfection, the injury 
and ultimately the destruction of the other. 

Mr. Kohler, the grandfather, does not appear to have re 
mained long in Charleston. He removed to Philadelphia, 



12 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEVMINGER. 

and his family, with the exception of his grandson Mem- 
minger, shortly after followed him there. A most impor 
tant event in the history of Mr. Memmino-er occurred at this 

t> O 

time an event which was even at his tender age of infancy 
to turn the current of his life, and to prove, in the end, the 
providential means of securing to him a career of great 
honor and usefulness, while it gave to Charleston and to 
South Carolina one who was to he among the worthiest of 
citizens. When he was hut four years old, the orphan boy 
of Wiirtemberg was entered formally at the " Orphan s 
House " of Charleston, and there found, with noble men 
and women to direct his course, the initial point from which 
we may begin to trace his remarkable and noble career. 
The entry of this important event in the life of Mr. Mem- 
miriger is distinctly made in the records of the institution. 
It is in these words: 

THURSDAY, 29th January, 1807. 

Present : John B. Holmes, Nathaniel Russel, Daniel Hall, John Par 
ker (Commissioners) 

Took into consideration the application of Magdalena Kohler for the 
admission of her grandchild, Christopher Gustavus Memminger, aged 
four years, and agreed thereto. 

One of the most beneficent institutions among the many 
that have long evidenced the spirit of the citizens of Charles 
ton is the Asylum for Orphans, founded more than a century 
ago, and for all this period fostered by the genius of a noble 
people, who make the good city by the sea a type of Chris 
tian civilization. As a home for worthy children bereft of 
parents, and a place where the care and solicitudes of a 
father and mother arc substituted by a generous Providence, 
there are but few the equals and none superior to the Or 
phans Home of Charleston, either in Europe or America. 
From the tenderest age of infancy, until the youth is pre 
pared to enter upon some useful and honorable vocation, the 
watchful care of excellent matrons and the tutorage of ac- 



HIS PARENTAGE AND CHILDHOOD. 13 

complished men and women, supervised by a Board of Com 
missioners selected from among the representative men of 
the city, guide the tottering steps of infancy, and furnish 
every appliance for a thorough common school education. 

I am much indebted to Miss Agnes K. Irving, the accom 
plished Principal of this noble institution, for a beautiful 
volume containing the proceedings of the Centennial cele 
bration held October 18, 1890. From its interesting pages 
I extract the following salutatory address, written by Thomas 
M. Hanckle, Esq., and delivered by Master J. Elliot Alex, 
a little orphan boy of nine years. 

This address well expresses the character of the institu 
tion and the spirit of the people who, for more than a cen 
tury, have kept a sacred fire burning upon its holy altar. 

ADDRESS. 

That is a beautiful and touching custom of happy families which 
celebrates the birthday of each loved child of the household, and by 
smiles and gifts and gentle words, and merry sports, loads each passing 
hour with the beauty and the fragrance of domestic affection. 

On such a day, father and mother unite their thanks, as they recall 
the hour in which they received the sweet, bright gift of God. 

On that day the happy child feels a dignity in his little life, and year 
after year learns to value more and more, the tender love which has 
followed him all his days, and with anxious yearnings, has watched for 
his growth in wisdom as he grows in stature. 

Most fitting and grateful then is this Centennial celebration of the 
day on which the noble city of Charleston, adopted as her own, the poor 
and forsaken orphans of the city and gathered them for all time within 
the merciful arms of her love and protection. 

It is the Orphan s Birthday the day of his adoption. 

Nearly one hundred years ago, the last blow was struck which com 
pleted the venerable pile around which with generous pride, the warm 
affection, and the benevolent interests of Charleston were clustered so 
long. 

Her people, still staggering under the shock of the Revolution, found 
time to conceive the plan of this noble charity; and her citizens, still 
impoverished by a wasting war, found means, with frugal zeal and will 
ing hands, to build the home of the fatherless. 

On that day more than one hundred children orphaned, helpless, 



14 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

destitute and friendless, were gathered within its walls, and the Or 
phans Home began its career of mercy and usefulness as an Institution 
of the city. 

On that day the event was honored with public rejoicings, with mu 
tual congratulations, and with thanksgiving to God. 

And to-day we celebrate, not only the Orphan s Birthday, but the 
day-spring of a wise and liberal charity. 

Anniversaries like these are the resting places of memory. 

As the revolving years tell the age of the world, and record its his 
tory, so do anniversaries like these, mark the progress of each lesser life 
and preserve its memories. Well may we celebrate this day, then, with 
solemn procession, with the swelling strains of music, with songs of joy, 
and hymns of praise. 

On this bright festival day of commemoration and rejoicing, kind 
and respected friends, do the adopted children of the city bring you 
greeting. They greet you with congratulations that health and pros 
perity have been the portion of our city and our Institution. 

They would rejoice with you, that each passing year has but served 
to make the foundations of our " House " deeper and stronger to give 
new energy to its mission of mercy, and to lend a new grace to the 
peaceful annals of its walls. 

They are glad to greet those whose generous aid supports our Insti 
tution, and the children, and the children s children of those who laid 
its foundations. 

And they are happy to say that they bring with them the testimo 
nials of their teachers and guardians, that they have endeavored to 
profit by the many advantages by which they are surrounded. 

We greet you, children of happy families, who have come to unite in 
our festival, with our youthful sympathy. Like you. we, too, are endeav 
oring to fit ourselves for the life that lies before us, and we trust that 
we shall one day meet you in the fields of labor, or wherever else our 
duty shall call us, ready to do our city and our State true and unselfish 
service, and to express our gratitude by our acts. 

We greet you, Mr. Mayor, and gentlemen of the Council, with our 
thanks for the liberal supplies you have so cheerfully voted for our sup 
port; for the interest you have always manifested in our welfare, and 
for your presence to-day to give dignity and importance to this occasion. 

We greet you, gentlemen of the Board of Commissioners, with our 
congratulations on your wise and successful administration of this no 
ble charity, and with our warmest gratitude for the untiring zeal and 
tender care with which you have watched our comfort, our improvement 
and our happiness. To you, Reverend Sirs, who from Sabbath to Sab 
bath break to us the " Bread of Life," we bring our heartfelt greetings 
and thanks. 



HIS PARENTAGE AND CHILDHOOD. 15 

We bring our warmest greetings to you, our beloved Principal, Teach 
ers and Matrons, and to you, our dear and kind Physician. 

We have no words to express all we owe to you. 

In your wise and gentle hands the cold charity of the world has been 
warmed into the melting tenderness of home and household. The God 
of the Fatherless alone can give you your wages. 

Again, we greet all that are present here to-day, with the prayer that 
this day, so eagerly anticipated and so keenly enjoyed by us, may be to 
them, a day of mingled peace and blessing in all their happy homes. 

It was at this Home that the orphan boy of Nayhingen 
found a sweet solace for the woe that had deprived him of a 
father s care and a mother s love, and it was here that the 
impress of manly virtues became fixed in his mind. Here 
it was that the foundation was laid upon which the youth 
and the young man afterwards erected the splendid super 
structure of his character. Here that he found a friend in 
Mr. Thomas Bennett, who took him, at the age of eleven, 
into his own family, and became to him in every sense a 
foster-father. There is somewhat a parallel in the child 
hood life of Mr. Memminger and that of Sir Michael Fara 
day, the great English scientist and successor to Sir Hum 
phrey Davy. Both of these eminent men were the recipients 
of benefactions at an early age, and both were led to their 
benefactors by a chain of circumstances that I am not dis 
posed to consider accidental. " There s a divinity that 
shapes our ends," says Shakespeare in Hamlet, who would 
thus account for the moral forces constantly at work in our 
humanity and inciting us to action. "There is a fatality in 
being," says another; and yet another, greater than all, 
whose teachings Mr. Memminger accepted in his mature 
age, who assures us that even the "sparrows " have the super 
vising care of a great Creator who, in the appointments of 
his Providence, is not alone the Author, but who is the 
Director of all the issues of life. It is immaterial whether 
we accept the explanation of the one or the other, the fact 
still remains as a fact long observed that men often fail in 



16 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

life with the most promising and propitious circumstances 
investing them, while others, with none of these environ 
ments, appear to be Fortune s master and Fortune s favor 
ites. Whether found " drawing at a ivcll," or "grinding at a 
mill" the one is chosen and the other is left. 

The reader will pray indulge me while I present another 
thought suggested by the study of these remarkable lives. 
Judicious labor and earnest zeal, the persistent purpose of a 
determined, positive nature, are the essential conditions on 
which one is permitted to receive the smiles of Fortune. 
"The gods help them who help themselves," is not alone a trite 
maxim, older than M sop s philosophy, but quite as true as 
it is old. Those are most apt to succeed in life who deserve 
success, and to be deserving one must conform to the exact 
ing conditions upon which bread was promised to our re 
creant parents in Paradise; he must learn to labor, to watch 
and wait. Nothing is or can be denied to well-directed 
labor, and nothing worth the having can be secured without 
it. Again, those men who have been the most useful in 
life, whether in Church or State, or in directing the indus 
trial pursuits of society who have left behind them a his 
tory that only brightens as the ages go by are those who, 
in a slow and careful development of the powers of the mind 
and a uniform practice of the virtues of true manhood, have 
preserved their individuality, while they have adhered to 
the principles, recognised the precedents and profited by the 
experiences of those who had preceded them on the stage of 
life. It is not the most brilliant intellect that is the least 
erratic, nor is it he who has a birth-right that for this reason 
alone must become the great man and the good citizen. 
" Honor and shame from no conditions rise." It is a weak 
ness of our humanity to regard what we are pleased to call 
misfortunes, and especially those which deprive us of wealth 
and the caste in which that possession sometimes expresses 



HIS PARENTAGE AND CHILDHOOD. 17 

its power, as being disgraceful and of necessity humiliating 
to the spirit of a proud man. "While the possession of 
wealth brings a certain degree of independence, and may add 
dignity to the surroundings of those w r ho properly use it, by 
no means does it follow that poverty is a badge of disgrace. 

This is especially true with the young, who, though incon 
venienced and often made to suffer through the improvi 
dence or misfortunes of their parents, are yet without the 
experiences of turpitude, the essential precursor of disgrace. 
It is only a very vain and very weak person who would seek 
to hide away in oblivion or to obscure with falsehood an 
humble origin, or an association with those who had been 
the recipients of so noble a charity as that of the Charleston 
Orphan House. 

I have taken up my pen to write the history of a great 
man, whose character and achievements are not dependent < 
upon the suppression of a single fact of his history, as it 
cannot be added to by the mere platitudes of eulogy. Mr. 
Memminger, not even when he had acquired fortune, when 
his fame as a great lawyer was well secured, and his name 
had become a household word with the people of the South 
ern States who delight to honor their statesmen not only 
when as a Cabinet officer he sat at the Council Board of 
President Davis, recognised as his most trusted adviser, did 
he ever boast of, or in any manner deny, the fact of his 
orphanage or the benefaction he had received in his child 
hood. Whenever occasion required him to make reference 
to this period in his history, it was never that he did so with 
the boasting spirit of the so-called " self-made" man, nor 
w r as it with the mean evasion that the vain person alone 
evidences, but always with a manly frankness and a great- 
ful sense of a kindness bestowed, that could but exalt him in 
the estimation of all right-thinking people. In after years, 
when as an alderman and a citizen of wealth and influence 



18 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

in Charleston, he was in position to do so, he not only be 
came a Commissioner to guard the institution that had been 
his childhood s home, but with a solicitude which could 
only have come from his experiences, he would watch the 
education and minister in the gentlest manner to the com 
fort of the children who were, as he had been, the wards of 
the city. As his biographer, I consider that it would not be 
just to the character of my noble friend, nor would it be 
more than a partial discharge of the duty I owe to posterity 
should I omit this most interesting period of his life. A 
gentleman of high character, now residing in Charleston, 
informs me that he, in a public speech of Mr. Memminger s 
long, long ago, remembers only this sentence: 

. . . "Not that I would object to have any son of mine sit by the 
side of the poorest boy in the land, for I have not forgotten that I was 
once a poor boy myself." 

Leaving the nursery, the play-grounds, the school-room 
and sympathies of the Orphan House at the tender age of 
eleven years, young Memminger found himself a part of the 
family of an excellent gentleman whose many graces of 
character were to infuse themselves into the plastic nature of 
a clever boy, while his ample fortune enabled him to secure 
for his protege the best facilities that the country offered for 
securing an education. At the time that young Memmin- 
ger was adopted into his family, Mr. Bennett had not only 
reached distinction, but was recognized in Charleston and 
throughout the State of South Carolina as a representative 
man among the men who in that day made the peculiar vir 
tues of Carolina civilization admirable even in the courtly 
circles of Europe. Around the fireside or in the counsels 
of the nursery, at the dinner table or in the drawing-room, 
there were no associations but those of the Christian gen 
tleman, the devoted patriot, and the upright citizen. The 
refinements of a cultured family were there to inculcate the 
virtues of a true manhood. 



HIS PARENTAGE AND CHILDHOOD. 19 

From boyhood to manhood is but a short period in the 
evolution of character, but it is a most important and inter 
esting one. It is then that the boy needs the constant care 
of one whose disinterested love and experiences are to lead 
him in the right way, and are to secure to him the facilities 
for mental training and proper physical as well as moral 
cultivation. The germs or elemental principles of charac 
ter may have, and undoubtedly do come through laws of 
heredity, but it requires patient watchfulness and good train 
ing to educe possibilities which otherwise may remain dor 
mant or become perverted to base ends and ignoble purposes. 

At the home of Governor Bennett, young Memminger 
was made to feel that he was at his own home, and without 
a word or an act to indicate a distinction, he was treated in 
every sense as a son and a brother. The best training that 
tutors could give was provided for him, while on his young 
mind and aspiring nature a lofty ambition and determined 
purpose was fixed by one who took him gently by the hand 
and lead his thoughts into deep channels of truth, and who 
strengthened his spirit by a noble example of manhood. It 
was in such an elemental school that destiny had ordained 
that the future statesman was to be tutored, and not in the 
home of his good Aunt Frederica at Stuttgart, in Germany. 
In after years, when her nephew was fast coming into promi 
nence as a public man, and was winning his first laurels in 
his city and State, this noble kinswoman sends across the 
Atlantic this message of love: " It was my intention to raise 
you in my family, and if I had what would I have done? 
May be I would have deterred you from your destiny de 
creed to you, as I believe, by the Almighty Creator." 

This " destiny" was preparing her " lovely Gustavus," as she 
endearingly addresses him in her letter, for a life of usefulness 
and for a chaplet of honor in far away America, just as it is 
to-day 

" Shaping our ends, rough-hew them how we will." 



20 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

The letter of his aunt, Madame Frederica Gauger (for 
merly Memminger), above referred to, is a beautiful ex 
pression of a woman s tender regard for a relative of whom 
she evidently had lost trace, but whom she yet held dear 
in her memory. It is dated at " Blumenmacherci in der 
Hauptstrasse, Stuttgard, Wiirtemberg." I extract from it 
the following sentence: 

. . . When I consider the emigration of your honorable grandfather 
and your beloved mother, the great persuasion I used to deter them from 
such an uncertain project in a far distant part of the world, I am, by 
your achievement, reminded that there is an All-wise Dispenser of hu 
man events who governs the affairs of His children better than they are 
at times disposed to believe. 



CHAPTER II. 
Jlis Qollecje Cif<? apd /}d/r\issior; to Bar, Etc. 




JITH the thorough preparation that his academic 
course in Charleston gave to him, Mr. Memminger 
was entered as a student in the South Carolina 
College in the year 1815, before he had reached his thirteenth 
birthday. He came well equipped for the trials which all 
must undergo who enter an institution of so high a grade, 
and desire to enjoy its benefits and to contend for its honors. 
His class in the Freshman year was a large one, and em 
braced through his college course a number of young men 
who were his seniors in years, and a few who in after life 
became distinguished citizens of South Carolina and of other 
States. At this period in its history the South Carolina Col 
lege took high rank among the institutions of learning in 
the United States, and was in fact the leading college of the 
Southern States. Here, young men came from all sections 
of the South, and from its classic shades and well-appointed 
halls were sent out men who for near a century have im 
pressed their virtues upon the civilization of all sections of 
our country. Appreciating fully the importance of a liberal 
education for her sons, and not yet distracted by the politi 
cal discords that in after years wasted her resources, and 
which to some extent appear to have alienated the sympa 
thies of her people, South Carolina made ample provision 
for the maintenance of this college; and in fact, by the judi 
cious expenditure of these appropriations made it a great 
fountain of knowledge, whose pure waters were liberally dis 
pensed to make useful men of those who were disposed to 

(21) 



22 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

drink deep at its Pierian spring. At the time of which I 
am writing the college had just undergone a severe trial in 
the enforcement of such discipline as the Faculty were then 
authorized to execute. The students appear, from the ac 
count given by Professor La Borde, in his history of the In 
stitution, to have resorted to violence in resenting what they 
were pleased to consider grievances, and for some time after 
the great riot of 1813 they appear to have remained in a 
state of more or less disorder, if not in open rebellion against 
the constituted authorities. Dr. Jonathan Maxey, the phi 
losopher and eminent divine, was the President; Robert 
Henry was Professor of Moral Philosophy; the great Doctor 
Cooper, of Chemistry; Thomas Park, of Languages, and 
George Blackburn of Mathematics and Astronomy. The 
tutors were Timothy D. Porter, of Languages, and James 
Camak, of Mathematics. 

The classmates of Mr. Memminger were Henry Campbell, 
John Campbell, Ulrick B. Clark, Wm. R. Clowney, Charles 
James Colcock, Mark A. Cooper, John M. Deas, Franklin 
H. Elmore, James A. Fleming, Benjamin Green, Samuel M. 
Green, Ezra M. Gregg, James A. Groves, John S. Groves, 
John M. Harris, Samuel J. Hoey, Benjamin F. Linton, Thos. 
Jefferson Means, Henry G. Nixon, John A. H. Norman 
Edward G. Palmer, James S. Pope, Wm. Porcher, John M. 
Ross, Napoleon B. Scriven, Samuel P. Simpson, Joseph 
Stark Sims, James E. Smith, Thomas House Taylor, Wm. 
H. Taylor, and Edward Thomas. 

From a circular issued by the President in 1819, the fol 
lowing I find to be the requisite in order to enter the Fresh 
man class: 

A candidate must be able to sustain a satisfactory examination upon 
Arithmetic and Elementary Algebra and English Grammar; upon Cor 
nelius Nepos, Coesar, Sallust, and the whole of Virgil s JSneid in Latin ; 
and in Greek upon the Gospels of Sts. John and Luke, the Acts of the 
Apostles, and the Greek Grammar. . . . The studies to be pursued 



HIS COLLEGE LIFE, ETC. 23 

in the Freshman year are Cicero s Orations and the Odes of Horace in 
Latin, Xenophon s Cyropredia and Memorabilia in Greek, Adam s Ro 
man Antiquities, Vulgar and Decimal Fractions, the Equations and Ex 
traction of Roots, English Grammar and Rhetoric. 

What youth of twelve summers, even in this day, would 
have passed the ordeal of such an examination, and held not 
only a respectable place in his class, but have led it as did 
young Memminger. 

The writer was privileged to know, in the maturity of 
their lives, and to an extent was intimate with, the Hon. 
Mark A. Cooper and Rev. John S. Groves, citizens of Georgia, 
who entered college with Mr. Memminger, and during the 
entire course knew him as only* class-mates and room-mates 
can know each other. From these gentlemen I have gath 
ered all that I present of the college life of Mr. Memminger, 
beyond that he has preserved in the form of essays and 
orations which appear in the Appendix to this volume. I 
am especially indebted to my excellent friend, Rev. John S. 
Groves, of Oxford, Georgia, for the pleasure he has afforded 
me in going over these happy days of his youth, and for the 
entertainment he has given me as with that zeal which 
only a loving nature can manifest he would live over his 
college life, and with song and with story recount the inci 
dents that made the college boy then, as he always has been 
and must ever be, a peculiarly interesting character. 

" Memminger," says Mr. Groves in a sketch made by him 
for me, "was the smallest in stature, as he was the youngest 
in years, of the boys who entered with me the South Caro 
lina College in 1815. His appearance, when I first saw him, 
was that of a mere child. In those days boys were not per 
mitted to assume the roll of grown men, and in dress, as 
well as in behavior, were less precocious than in these later 
days of Young America. This was especially so with the 
boys from our seaboard city of Charleston. With his back 
to you, and dressed as he was in a neat-fitting round-about 



24 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

or jacket, you would have thought him to have been one of the 
children of Columbia who had wandered into the campus, 
so small was he and so childlike in appearance, but let him 
turn and face you, and then enter into conversation with 
him, and you would be at once undeceived. His manner 
was all earnestness, w r hile his facial expression was that of a 
person far his senior in age. His most attractive feature 
w r as his eye a blueish-gray and always at perfect rest when 
he was speaking to you. He seemed to be looking into your 
mind, and if he was interested or seeking to impress you 
with his discourse, you would be held as if by a magnetic 
force. His face was lean, complexion very fair, nose very 
prominent, chin rather an oval termination of a strong, well- 
formed maxillary, with a mouth rather large, and thin, com 
pressed lips so much compressed at times that his mouth 
appeared but as a line. His hair was a dark brown, almost 
black. Memminger had an expression under all circum 
stances of earnestness; I cannot say it was an expression of 
melancholly, but it was more that of care, of serious delib 
eration. He was the student of our class. We had not been 
ten days on our course before he was in the lead. His reci 
tations were prepared with the utmost care, and while at 
times he would enter heartily into the sports of the campus, 
yet I never knew him charged with an indiscretion that 
would necessitate an apology to a class-mate or a rebuke 
from a Professor. 

" I soon learned not only to like him, but to have for the 
Charleston boy/ as we called him, a great respect. He was 
very laborious and never an idler. For some time we were 
room-mates. Often have I been rebuked by finding him at 
work with his text-books when I would come in late from 
some social entertainment. Mr. Memminger was born for 
a leader. Young as he was, in years a mere child, yet in 
the debating society or at our class-meetings, whenever there 



HIS COLLEGE LIFE, ETC. 25 

was a doubt about a course of procedure, and we were, as all 
college boys will be, at our council board, Memminger s 
opinions were very apt to be our rule of action; especially 
was it so towards the close of our college term. He would 
wait until all had delivered their wisdom, and then come 
with a statement of the case that was clear and convincing. 
I cannot say that he was regarded as having a mind of flash 
ing brilliancy in the sense that General Toombs or Ben Hill 
are by some regarded; but he had, in my opinion, a more 
judicial mind than either of them. There was no meteoric 
light about it, but the clear, steady light of a planet. I was 
much impressed with his strict adherence to rules and his 
devotion to principles while he was in college. These rules 
for the conduct of his life were prepared for him by some 
sincere friend, and he had them written upon a tablet, and 
ever before his mind as the inflexible law of his college life 
which no possible temptation could lead him to forget. 

" While he was not a member, as I now remember, of any 
religious society, yet he always attended upon the services 
at the chapel, and was scrupulously careful in observing his 
morning and evening devotions. 

"After graduation our lives diverged. He remained in his 
loved Carolina while I moved elsewhere. I have followed 
his course in public life with much pleasure, and would only 
have been surprised if he had not made the record he has 
among the great men of the country. His orations in the 
Junior class, and one while he was a Senior in 1819, on the 
Influence of Popular Opinion, were well received at the 
time and gave evidences then of a fact, now assured, that 
nature had cast his mind in no ordinary mould. He pos 
sessed to a degree I have never known surpassed the fac 
ulty of concentration. I have known him when surrounded 
by a troup of boisterous college boys to continue his studies 
amid every kind of interruption. 7 



26 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

I extract from a letter written by the Hon. Mark A. 
Cooper, a United States Senator, and among the ablest and 
most honored citizen of Georgia, the following: 

I am not unmindful of my promise to you, made some time ago, to 
prepare a sketch of the college days of my old friend, Mr. Memminger, 
of South Carolina. I have only delayed because at my advanced age I 
find it by no means as easy to handle a pen as in the days gone by 
alas, gone by forever ! . . . My delay has at least given me the plea 
sure of reading a letter from you which be assured is highly appreciated. 
. . . From the first time I met him, a mere boy, when we matriculated 
at the South Carolina College, to this moment, I have had for C. G. Mem 
minger the utmost respect. I well remember him, a delicately framed 
boy, who appeared to be too young to be away from home influences, and 
by several years the youngest of those who entered the Freshman class 
of 1815. There was in his childish appearance that which to a stranger 
might have detracted from the dignified personnel of a collegiate, yet 
there was in his intellectual eye and impressive face the undoubted ex 
pression of a mind that would command respect from those who were 
larger in physical proportion or who were older in years. 

At college he was very attentive to his duties, a close and critical stu 
dent, and in every sense of the term a clever youth. There were others 
in our class who were thought to possess more brilliant intellects, but 
none who were more earnest in their labors or more direct in their 
methods. I can recall several who have never reached a place of note, 
or became at all distinguished, who were regarded in their college days 
as being more talented than Memminger; . . . but none who were 
superior to him in that painstaking labor and thorough analysis so essen 
tial to the acquisition of knowledge, and to its judicious application in 
the affairs of life. We were members of the same debating society 
the Clariosophic. I have often listened to him in debate with great sat 
isfaction, and have found him by no means an antagonist to be lightly 
considered. Mr. Memminger s success in life was all foreshadowed in 
his college days. That he should have reached the eminent position 
among our great men that now renders his name distinguished is no 
matter of surprise to me. . . . 

Some of the orations referred to by Mr. Groves are printed 
in the Appendix to this volume. They plainly indicate the 
strength of the youth s mind. For these papers I am in 
debted to Mr. Edward Memminger, of Flat Rock, a worthy 
son, as I am for others that have been long treasured as 
familv heirlooms. 



HIS COLLEGE LIFE, ETC. 27 

The prescribed college course has been finished, and the 
time comes when the Freshman has matured into the digni 
fied Senior, who, in the presence of the august guardians of 
his alma-mater and before the assembled populace, is to 
receive the official certificate of his proficiency and be ush 
ered into the arena of life to meet its duties and to engage 
in its combats; to go down before these in the ignominy of 
failure, or to acquire fame and the emoluments of victory, 
the honors of men, and more than all the approval of his 
own conscious manhood, and the esteem of his fellow-citizens. 
The merit and demerit marks have all been counted by the 
professors, when it is announced that the gray-eyed boy 
from Charleston has by his proficiency won the second 
place of distinction in a large and talented class, and has 
been awarded the honor of delivering the salutatory address 
at the " Commencement " exercises. The young gentleman 
who contended with Mr. Memminger for the " First Honor " 
was Mr. Thomas House Taylor, who won it by so small an 
advantage that the Faculty were for some time in doubt. A 
few years later brought about a change in the rules of the 
college, making the " First Honor " graduate the salutato- 
rian, and awarding to the " Second Honor " the valedictory 
address, and such is the custom to~day. When young Mem 
minger, proud of his triumph, was presented by the venera 
ble president, there was not before him in that happy au 
dience the beating heart of a father, or was there awaiting 
him the loving embrace of a mother. The gallant officer of 
the Prince-Elector s battalion and the patient, proud-spirited 
mother could only have been near their loved boy in some 
spirit form, some sweet relation of affinities, that some tell 
us bring, even from the infinite world, the loves that have 
left us in this world. Who shall say that it was not so! 
There was one there, however, to press the hand of his boy, 
whom he had taken into his own household and to whom he 



28 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

was not only disposed to express his congratulations, but 
about whom he was ready to place the strong arm of his 
protecting care in the future struggles of life. This was Gov. 
Thomas H. Bennett, the foster-father, in every sense of the 
word, of the deserving graduate. 

I do not consider that it would be just to the spirit of my 
honored friend, whose history I am writing, should I not 
present more prominently than I have done the character 
of Governor Bennett, for whom Mr. Memminger always en 
tertained the greatest respect and a love engendered by the 
noble nature of his generous friend and benefactor. 

Returning to Charleston from his successful college course 
with his well-earned honor, Mr. Memminger entered the law 
office of Mr. Joseph Bennett, the brother of the Governor. 
In those days admission to the privileges and emoluments 
of the legal profession was only possible in South Carolina 
after a course of study that would in these latter days of 
rapid evolution be considered in some sections as amount 
ing to a qualified interdiction. It was well that it was so. 

The youth of Mr. Memminger was in his favor, while the 
training that his superior mind had received the better pre 
pared him to grasp the subtle realities of the logical science 
he had determined to master. In the year 1820, when he 
formally began his law course, the Bar of Charleston was, 
as it has ever been, noted for the number of eminent lawyers 
who were practising there in the State and Federal courts. 
There could have been no better standards of professional 
ethics, as there were no higher expressions of the learning 
and the eloquence of the lawyer and advocate; no better 
school in which to absorb by the contact of association, as 
there was no better forum for the exhibition of the noblest 
expressions of true manliness. It was then that Stephen 
D. Miller, Hugh S. Legare, Henry L. Pinckney, James L. 
Pettigru, Eobert Y. Hayne, Henry Bailey, Daniel and Alfred 



HIS COLLEGE LIFE, ETC. 29 

Huger, B. F. Hunt, Richard Yeadon, W. G. Dessassure, 
Alexander Mazyck, were among the master spirits of the 
court-room; when, at the General Sessions, the Court of 
Common Pleas, or at Chancery, Johnston, Harper, O Neal, 
Butler, Dunkin, Richardson, Wardlaw, Earle, and Evans 
presided with a grace that would have done honor to West 
minster or the King s Bench in the palmiest day of English 
jurisprudence. It was then that Calhoun, McDuffie, Cheves, 
and Hayne were statesmen expressing thoughts that were to 
outlive the centuries and " wander through eternity." 

Among the young men just then coming to the Bar was 
Edward McCrady. For him Mr. Memminger formed an 
attachment, which was warmly reciprocated, and which con 
tinued an unbroken friendship during more than the aver 
age life of men. It has recently been my pleasure to con 
verse with Mr. McCrady, who, at this writing, is still in life, 
and at the advanced age of ninety-three retains to a remark 
able degree the faculties of his mind and a physical strength 
which I hope will prolong his useful life far into the " serene 
and solemn beauty of old age." Mr. McCrady describes his 
then young friend Memminger as being a man of untiring 
energy, a close, careful student, who lost no opportunity to 
acquire an accurate knowledge of the principles and the 
practice of his chosen profession; sincere in his convictions 
and devoted in the discharge of duty. " He possessed," said 
Mr. McCrady, " to an extent I have never known surpassed 
the ability to state a proposition and- lay a case before a 
judge or a jury as clearly as it possibly could be done. 
There was nothing superfluous, no redundant expression; 
but stripped of all extraneous matters the proposition or 
case would be stated by him so clearly that there could be 
no mistaking it." 

At this time there was an association among the men of 
letters in Charleston, known as the " Conversational and De- 



30 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

bating Society" to which Mr. Memminger was introduced, 
and of which he became an active member and regular at 
tendant. The object of the association appears to have been 
" for the improvement of the mind and the cultivation of 
the amenities of life." It was in fact a social club, some 
what similar to the "Kit-Kat" and old October Clubs of 
London in the days of Johnson, Goldsmith, Reynolds, and 
other worthies of their day. The current topics of the day 
were informally discussed, essays were read, and occasion 
ally such subjects as were of special interest were debated 
to the great pleasure and profit of those who were present. 
This institution was established at an early period in the 
history of Charleston, as I am informed by Judge George S. 
Bryan, and numbered among its members those who were 
prominent in all the pursuits of life clergymen, lawyers, 
doctors, men of letters, and those engaged in commerce or 
the business pursuits of the city. The writer can well un 
derstand that while Mr. Memminger was preparing himself 
for the duties of his profession, the associations of this club 
were of great benefit to him. Among the gifted and accom 
plished men he met there any young gentleman possessing 
the natural abilities of Mr. Memminger must have received 
valuable suggestions, as he must also have been impressed 
with that imprimatur of manhood that made this era in our 
State s history one of peculiar attractiveness. This club 
was in existence for near a century. It was reorganized in 
1842, but appears now to have suffered the fate of other in 
stitutions of our ante-bellum civilization, and to have gone 
into that wretched tomb which an unsuccessful revolution 
prepared, not alone for our material interests, but, alas! for 
the spirit and, to too great an extent, the sesthetic culture of 
a gallant people. 

I find among the papers of Mr. Memminger the reported 
proceedings of another club, which I apprehend was formed 



HIS COLLEGE LIFE, ETC. 3} 

among the young lawyers of Charleston. The name, as 
given in our English participle " The Lying Club " is not 
so classic as it might have been made, but it is none the 
less suggestive. This club met, as it appears from the pro 
ceedings, in general sessions, at the Charleston Coffee-House, 
a temple whose fame in that goodly day was as great in the 
old city by the sea as was that of Mercury in ancient Athens. 
From the old and well-authenticated records of this club it 
is clear that Mr. Memminger s was one of those happy tem 
pers which varied at times the stern realities of life with the 
genuine good humor of a merry soul. 

He had the sweet humors of a happy disposition moving 
as a deep undercurrent in his strong and manly nature. 
There was no element of -the cynic, no asceticism in his 
character. Under no circumstances did he ever display the 
solemn phariseeism of a Uriah Heap. 

In after years, when he was burdened with the cares, the 
responsibilities, and many vexing annoyances of a Cabinet 
officer, the writer was brought into intimate official rela 
tions with him as the chief clerk and disbursing officer of 
the Confederate Treasury Department, and was admitted 
into his confidence as his private secretary and executive 
officer for at least one year of his term of service. I never 
knew him to lose control of his temper; never at any time, 
even when annoyed, as but few officials could be, and 
always found him re ady at the proper time and place to en 
joy a good joke, and to relish, with a keen sense of apprecia 
tion, a genuine witticism. 

In his infancy his grandparents, who were then his guar 
dians, did not realize the advantage of having him made an 
American citizen under the provisions of the naturalization 
laws then of force. He could not be admitted to the Bar as 
an attorney and counsellor-at-law until this step had been 
taken. Under the auspices of Mr. Van Buren, an act of 



32 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

Congress providing for such cases was passed, and under its 
provisions Mr. Memminger became an American citizen. 
The following is a copy of the certificate issued by the United 
States District Court: 

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA SOUTH CAROLINA DISTRICT. 
To all to whom these presents may come greeting: 

Whereas at a Federal District Court, held in the city of Charleston, 
under the jurisdiction of the United States of America, on the 22d day 
of June, Anno Domini, 1824, and in the 48th year of the Independence 
and sovereignty of the said States, Christopher Gustavus Memminger, 
late of the Duchy of Wurtemberg, in the electorate of Suabia, came into 
the said court and made application to be admitted a citizen of these, 
our said States, and having complied with all of the conditions and re 
quisites of the acts of Congress in such case made and provided for estab 
lishing a uniform rule for naturalization ; and the oath to support the 
Constitution of the United States of America, and to renounce all alle 
giance and fidelity to every foreign prince, potentate, State, or 
sovereignty whatever, being administered unto him in open court before 
the Honorable Thomas Lee, District Judge, he, the said Christopher 
Gustavus Memminger is, by virtue thereof and the premises, declared 
and enrolled a citizen of the said States. 

In testimony whereof, I have fixed the seal of the said court to these 
presents, at the city of Charleston, in the district aforesaid, the day and 
year above written. 

[Signed] JAMES JERVEY, 

District Cleric, S. C. D. 

It is fact of note that two of the most prominent and 
trusted officers of the Cabinet of President Davis were for 
eign born Judah P. Benjamin and Mr. Memminger. It 
does not appear that Mr. Benjamin was ever a citizen dejure 
of the United States. He moved on in his remarkable 
career, reaching eminence as a lawyer and distinction as a 
Senator; became famous as a brilliant expounder of consti 
tutional law; championed the cause of the Southern States, 
and subsequently throughout the administration of Presi 
dent Davis, became his trusted counsellor in the Law De 
partment, the War Department, and finally, as Secretary of 
State, without ever having renounced his allegiance to the 



HIS COLLEGE LIFE, ETC. 33 

British Government. Not so with Mr. Memminger, the 
equal in many respects of the gifted Englishman from 
Louisiana, and, as the writer believes, his superior in those 
characteristics that mark the upright man who feared God 
and worked righteously. 

The delay incident to securing the privileges of a citizen 
of the United States was improved by Mr. Memminger in a 
close application to the text-books of his profession. It was 
at this time that he began the preparation of "A Digest of 
the Decisions of the Court of Appeals, with Notes on the 
same, and on Leading Cases referred to in the Authorities. " 
I find only one of the note books among his papers in which 
this digest i"s commenced. It is in his hand-w T riting, with 
marginal references to many authorities, clearly indicating 
the painstaking, methodical work of a careful student. Thus 
was he laying broad and deep the foundation upon w T hich, 
in after years, he was to erect the superstructure that will 
remain for years to grace the judicial walks in which the 
great men of Carolina lived and made their immortal his 
tory. 

Admitted to practice in the several courts of South Caro 
lina, Mr. Memminger at once entered upon a successful pro 
fessional career. .While he did not make any single depart 
ment of law a specialty, yet it becomes apparent to those 
who follow his long and laborious professional life, and read 
his many cases as of record in the State Reports, that com 
mercial and constitutional law in all their bearings was his 
favorite branch, and in these he was eminently successful. 
The order of - his mind would naturally lead him in this 
direction. 

When Mr. Memminger came to take his place among the 

lawyers of the Charleston Bar, political affairs were in an 

excited condition, and became more so as each session of 

Congress brought before the people the discussions of ques- 

3 



34 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

tions that were fast arraying the Northern and Southern sec- 
tions of the country against each other, and that ultimately 
provoked the dissolution of the Union. For years the dis 
cussion of the rights of the States, under the provisions of 
the Constitution, had "been growing more and more bitter. 
These discussions became more excited when the tariff 
measures, instituted during the administration of John 
Quincy Adams, were enforced during the presidential term 
of Andrew Jackson. Public meetings were being held all 
over the country to protest against the tariff as an iniquitous 
system of legislation made to advance the interests of the 
manufacturing States of the North, at the expense of the 
agricultural sections of the Union. Mr. Clay s great speech 
in support of "An American system for the protection of 
American industry," delivered in the House of Representa 
tives in March, 1824, had called forth the eloquence and logic 
of Robert Y. Hayne, Mr. Calhoun, Judge Harper, James 
Hamilton, Langdon Cheves, Henry L. Pinckney and a host 
of others in opposition to his doctrines; while in Virginia 
the ringing eloquence of AVilliam B. Giles endorsed the reso 
lutions reported to the General Assembly of that State pro 
testing " against the claim or exercise of any power whatever 
on the part of the general government to- protect domestic 
manufactures as not being among the grants of power to 
that government specified in the Constitution of the United 
States, and also against the operations of the act of Congress 
passed May 22, 1824, entitled an act to amend an act im 
posing duties on imports generally called the tariff laws, 
which vary the distribution of the proceeds of the labor of 
the community in such a manner as to transfer property 
from one portion of the United States to another, and to 
take private property from the owner for the benefit of an 
other person, not rendering public service, as unwise, unjust, 
unequal and oppressive." 



HIS COLLEGE LIFE, ETC. 35 

In South Carolina, as in Virginia and in other States of 
the Union, this matter of the " unwise, unjust, unequal and 
oppressive " character of the tariff led to the formation of two 
parties, not so much because there was a denial, among any 
very considerable number, of the unrighteousness and op 
pressiveness of the measure, but because of a difference of 
opinion as to the proper remedy to relieve the agricultural 
sections of the unjust and unconstitutional burdens. Mr. 
Calhoun presented the right of nullification as a remedy 
authorised by the Constitution of the United States, and 
sustained his position with masterly arguments which will 
rank him among the great reasoners and statesmen of 

O O 

America as long as our institutions of government endure. 

Nullification as a peaceful remedy was opposed by those 
who believed that it was revolutionary, unauthorized by any 
provision of the Constitution, and if exercised by the State 
that every bond of Union existing between the States would 
be broken and civil war would be the certain result. Both 
parties claimed to be advocating the doctrine of State 
Rights the one being known as the " Union State Rights 
Party," and the other as the party of " Free Trade and 
State Rights." With the masses they were distinguished 
as the "Union" and " Nullification" parties. 

Prominent among those who opposed nullification, and 
among the leaders of the Union party were James L. Peti- 
gru, William Drayton, Joel 11. Poiiisett, Daniel E. linger, 
John S. Richardson, Hugh S. Legare, Richard Yeadon, Jr., 
B. F. Hunt, Richard I. Manning, Henry W. Dessassure, John 
Belton O Neal, and many others I might mention among 
the best citizens and truest patriots of the State of South 
Carolina. 

With the "Union State Rights" party Mr. Memminger 
early identified himself, and though but a young man, he 
brought to its service the sincere convictions of his good 



36 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

judgment and the earnest zeal of an unselfish patriotism. 
The great debate in the Senate of the United States be 
tween Mr. Webster and General Hayne in 1830 had gone 
far beyond the previous discussions which had been con 
fined to the right of nullification. Although this debate 
w r as provoked by a resolution inquiring into the expediency 
of selling the public lands, it ended in a heated discussion 
of the sovereignty of a State, and the right of the State to 
resume that sovereignty under the provisions of a " con 
tract" or a " compact." Never before in the history of the 
country was there so much excitement in political affairs. 
From Washington city this excitement was transferred to 
the several States, and more of it possibly reached South 
Carolina than was brought to any other of the Southern 
members of the sisterhood. Party lines were drawn with 
distinctness, and partisan feeling rose to a degree never be 
fore known in the history of the State. To use the language 
of Mr. Calhoun in his address to the people of South Caro 
lina, made through the Pendleton Messenger, July, 1837: 
f< The country is now more divided than in 1824, and then 
more than in 1816. The majority may have increased, but 
the opposite sides are beyond dispute more determined and 
excited than at any other period." Meetings were held in 
every district, parish and beat in the State, at which the 
doctrine of nullification was advocated and opposed with all 
the vehemence incident to such occasions among an excit 
able people who were appealed to by eloquent and earnest 
orators. 

The Legislature of 1831 authorized the Governor to call a 
convention of the people to take into consideration their re 
lations to the Federal Union. It was to meet at Columbia 
in the month of November of the following year, and to it 
delegates were to be selected by the people of the several 
districts and parishes of the State. The Union party put 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 37 

forth its strongest men and best endeavors to secure their 
election as the delegates to this convention, and were op 
posed by the representative men of the nullifiers. I can 
best portray the state of the public mind, and will, at the 
same time, preserve a valuable historical paper, for the use 
of which, I am indebted to the Hon. E. M. Seabrook, of 
Charleston, by inserting here a copy of the proceedings at 
a " Celebration of the Fifty-fifth Anniversary of American 
Independence by the Union State Rights party" at Charles 
ton, July 4, 1831. 

Celebration of the Fifty-fifth Anniversary of American Independence. 

At a meeting of the " Union and State Rights Party," convened at 
Seyle s Hall, agreeably to notice, the Hon. Daniel E. Huger was called 
to the chair, and Robert B. Gilchrist, Esq., appointed secretary. 

The objects of the meeting having been stated, the chairman, on 
motion, appointed Messrs. J. L. Petigru, S. H. Dickson, C. J. Steedman, 
A. S. Willington and Joseph Johnson a committee, who reported the fol 
lowing preamble and resolutions, which were unanimously adopted: 

"The Union and State Rights Party, zealously attached to the prin 
ciples of the Revolution, would celebrate the approaching anniversary 
of American Independence in the very spirit which animated the illus 
trious men who fought and bled for American liberty : therefore, 

" Resolved, That a committee of arrangements, consisting of thirteen, 
be appointed by the chair, to adopt such measures as may be necessary 
to effect the purposes contemplated by this meeting. 

"Resolved, That a committee of five, of which the chairman of this 
meeting shall be one, be appointed by the chair, to request the Hon. 
William Drayton to deliver an oration on the Fourth of July next. 

"Resolved, That twenty-four stewards be appointed by the chair, to 
aid the committee of arrangements in ordering and conducting such 
entertainments as may be thought appropriate for the occasion. 

" Resolved, That the committee of arrangements be specially in 
structed to invite the surviving patriots of the Revolution. 

" Resolved, That the Hon. James R. Pringle be requested by the com 
mittee of arrangements to preside at the dinner." 1 

The following gentlemen were appointed a committee under the 
second resolution: Hon. D. E. Huger, B. F. Hunt, Thomas Bennett, 
Simon Magvvood and J. H. Read. 

It was then unanimously resolved, that the thanks of this meeting be 
returned to the chairman for his services on this occasion. 



1 In the adoption of these resolutions, the party considered that they were only imitating 
the example which had been set them by their political opponents. 



38 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

The following gentlemen were nominated by the chairman as the 
committee of arrangements and stewards: 

Committee of Arrangements John Stoney, George Warren Cross, Rene 
Godard, Dr. Francis Y. Porcher, John Strohecker, Dr. James Moultrie, 
Jr., Dennis Kane, James Adger, Dr. S. Henry Dickson, J. Harleston 
Read, William Kunhardt, Dr. John Wagner, Edwin P. Starr, C. G. Mem- 
minger. 

Stewards Robert Pringle, James H. Smith, L. G. Capers, Randell 
Hunt, William Patton, Abraham Moise, J. Harleston Rutledge, James 
Marsh, Jr., Charles Lowndes, John B. Legare, William Newton, E. S. 
Duryea, Augustus Follin, George Buist, Albert Elfe, Cornelius Burck- 
myer, Charles R. Carroll, Ogden Hammond, Thomas Corbett, Jr., J. B. 
Thompson, William C. Ilichborn, Juls. Tavel, Daniel Horlbeck, John B. 
Robertson. 

ASSEMBLY AT THE MARKET AXD PROCESSION. 

The day having arrived, the dawn of it was ushered in in the usual 
way, by the firing of cannon, ringing of bells, and the parade of the 
militia. 

At 10 o clock the party began to collect in the market, between 
Meeting street and the Bay this being the place designated by the 
committee of arrangements for that purpose, in the morning papers. 
In a short time the vast multitude which had assembled so much ex 
ceeded expectation, that it became necessary to call in the assistance of 
two additional marshals to assist those who had been already selected, 
and Messrs. Edward M Cready and Thomas Corbett, Jr., were accord 
ingly added to Messrs. Henry Ravenel, Philip Porcher and Theodore 
Gaillard. The procession being organized, between 11 and 12 o clock, 
moved onward to the First Presbyterian or Scotch Church, at the corner 
of Meeting and Tradd streets, (which was found too small to admit the 
numerous assemblage, the galleries having been reserved for the ladies,) 
where they opened in a double line extending at the same moment over 
a greater portion of the intermediate distance, and were received by a 
voluntary on the organ by the venerable and accomplished Professor of 
Music, Mr. Jacob Eckhard the whole moving through the lines from 
the rear. 

ORDER OF PROCESSION TO THE CHURCH. 

1. The Twenty-four Stewards, corresponding with the twenty-four 
States, bearing each a banner of blue silk, with the name of a State in 
scribed on it, and a suitable device. 

2. The Standard of the United States, supported on the right and left 
by Col. Jacob Sass and Mr. Solomon Legare, two Revolutionary soldiers, 
both of whom \vere at the siege of Savannah. 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 39 

3. Sixty Youths, who having hastily organized themselves, and re 
quested to be admitted into the procession, were received by the mar 
shals. 

4. Seventy Ship-Masters and Seamen, with banners on which were 
inscribed the names of distinguished nautical commanders and naval 
victories. 

5. Union and State Rights Party: The younger in front, the elder in 
the rear. This was composed of the industrious and independent of all 
classes, comprising the moral and political energies of the body politic. 
They were very numerous, exceeding 1,200 souls. They also carried 
banners on which were inscribed the names of the battles of the Revo 
lution and the last war Fort Moultrie and Bunker Hill being in front, 
and others, Northern and Southern, conjointly following in the rear. 

6. Committee of Arrangement : Thirteen in number, conformably to 
the thirteen original States. 

7. Foreign Consuls, with their badges and ensignias of office. 

8. Distinguished Guests, invited from various parts of the State. 

9. The Conscript Fathers of the Revolution : A patriotic band, who 
by their presence in goodly numbers, and the animation with which 
they joined in doing homage to the day, reminded us of the blood and 
treasure it had cost, and the duty imposed to transmit it unsullied to 
posterity. 

10. The Clergy. 

11. The Twenty-four Vice-Presidents : Each representing a State of 
our Federal Union. 

12. Gen. Daniel Elliott Huger, Reader of Washington s Farewell 
Address, sustained by Dr. Win. Read, first Vice-President of the Day, 
and Vice-President of the Cincinnati Society of South Carolina. 

13. The Hon. James R. Pringle, Intendant of the City, and President 
of the Day; and the Hon. Wm. Drayton, Orator. 

14. The Secretary of the Committee of Arrangements, with the beau 
tiful blue silk standard of the party, inscribed in golden capitals with 
the words "Union and State Rights, July 4, 1831," and surmounted by a 
very splendid eagle. 

Two Bands of Music, placed at proper distances along the line of the 
procession. 

The whole formed a sublime and imposing spectacle, the moral gran 
deur of which it would be difficult to give an adequate idea of in words. 
It was the spontaneous movement of a vast multitude, assembled in the 
presence of their God, to sacrifice at the altars of their country, and to 
vow, before Him, their unalterable determination to defend her institu 
tions and her laws against the attacks of all her enemies, whether they 
exist in her own bosom, or come against her from abroad. 
ORDER OP CEREMONIES AT THE CHURCH. 

Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Rodgers. 



40 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

AN ORIGINAL ODE. 

Sung by a Choir, accompanied by the Organ. (Air " The Star-spangled Banner.") 

I. 

We will gather, in pride, to the glorious rite, 

In the faith of the free, from our sires that descended; 
And who shall resist us, when thus we unite. 
For the Union they won, and so nobly defended, 
To hallow the hour, 
When freed from the pow r 
Of Britain, our eagle first taught her to cow r? 
We w r ill gather in triumph, in gladness and mirth, 
And bless our free nation free st nation of earth. 

II. 

With a people unmatched with a freedom, that now, 
Even now, while all Europe is wrapt in commotion, 
And the brave bleed or conquer, refusing to bow, 
Shines forth like a beacon across the broad ocean 
And with rapture they turn, 
Where our altars yet burn, 

Their chains are all broken, their tyrants they spurn, 
And at the pure altar, and round the glad hearth, 
They bless our free nation free st nation of earth. 

. III. 

Where else is the temple of freedom oh, w r here 

If not in the broad land, our sires have given ; 
For destiny s self brought our forefathers here, 
And here was the chain of the tyrant first riven. 
And to conquer or die, 
First appealing on high, 

They dared, in his might, the fell monster defy ; 
While Europe, astonished looked on at its birth, 
And bless d our free nation free st nation of earth. 

IV. 

Forget not that time of commotion and toil, 

And the glory that sprung from it, cherished forever, 
Shall guard our freedom and shall hallow our soil, 
And the foot of the tyrant shall trample them never: 
For what folly would dare, 
When our flag is in air, 

And imbued with one spirit, we join in one prayer 
For the altar that hears it for our home for our hearth 
God save our free nation free st nation of earth. 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 4\ 

Washington s Farewell Address to the People of the United States, 
was read by Gen. Daniel Elliott Huger. 

This was received with strong and repeated emotions particularly 
those parts of the Address which are admonitory as to the causes that 
may threaten disunion and the attempts that would be made to effect it. 
SECOND ORIGINAL ODE. 

Composed at the Request of the Committee 9^ Arrangements for the occasion. Sung by two 
voices, accompanied as before. (Air "Scots wha hae wi Wallace bled.") 

I. 

Hail, our country s natal morn, 
Hail, our spreading kindred-born ! 
Hail, thou banner, not yet torn, 

Waving o er the free ! 
While, this day, in festal throng, 
Millions swell the patriot-song, 
Shall not we thy notes prolong, 

Hallo w d jubilee! 

II. 

Who would sever Freedom s shrine? 
Who would draw the invidious line? 
Though, by birth, one spot be mine, 

Dear is all the rest. 
Dear to me the South s fair land, 
Dear, the central Mountain band, 
Dear, New England s rocky strand, 

Dear the prairied West. 

III. 

Ey our altars, pure and free, 
By our law s deep-rooted tree, 
By the past dread memory, 

By our WASHINGTON ; 
By our common parent tongue, 
By our hopes, bright, buoyant, young, 
By the tie of country, strong 

We will still be ONE. 

IV. 

Fathers ! have ye bled in vain? 
Ages ! must ye droop again? 
MAKER ! shall we rashly stain 

Blessings sent by THEE? 
No ! receive our solemn vow, 
While before Thy throne we bow, 
Ever to maintain, as now, 

" UNION LIBERTY !" 



42 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

In the choruses of both odes, the audience joined with a good deal of 
enthusiasm ; but at the repetition of the four last lines of the last verse 
of the second, they simultaneously arose, and thus manifested the deep 
and swelling emotions with \vhich their bosoms had been inspired. 

This being ended, the orator of the day advanced to the rostrum, which 
had been occupied by his predecessor, and delivered an able, patriotic, 
and exceedingly beautiful oration. 

At the close of these ceremonies th*e party adjourned. 

PROCESSION TO AND DESCRIPTION OF THE BOWER. 

The hour of dining having arrived, the party again assembled in aug 
mented numbers at the market, and at the hour of 4 o clock moved off, 
in an order the reverse of that which had been adopted in the morning, 
to the Union Bower at the corner of Meeting and George streets, where 
dinner was in waiting to receive them. 

The very extensive building, erected by the party for this especial pur 
pose, covering a space of forty-five feet in width by one hundred and 
fifty feet in length, was found inadequate to accommodate all who had 
assembled, and from two hundred to three hundred persons were obliged, 
notwithstanding the erection of an additional table the whole length of 
the building on the outside, to stand up and exchange places, alternately, 
with those who were seated. The entertainment was abundant, and for 
so numerous a company served up in superior style. The wines were 
excellent, and the whole company enjoyed " the feast of reason and the 
flow of soul." About 10 o clock the party retired, highly pleased at the 
manner in which they had passed the day. 

The lot and building in which the party dined were decorated with a 
taste at once showy and becoming. Festoons of evergreens encircled 
the pillars, which, though we cannot exactly consider or designate them 
as "Corinthian columns," were, nevertheless, very neat and substantial. 
The hickory, entwined with the palmetto and the pine, were conspicuous 
as appropriate emblems in illustrating the pride and strength of our 
country; and from the archways, one of which being appropriated to 
each individual, were suspended shields bearing the names of Moultrie, 
Warren, Lafayette, Manning, Sumter, Hampton, Lincoln, Motte, Pu- 
laski, C. C. Pinckney, Thomas Pinckney, De Kalb, Pickens, Putnam, 
Marion, Rutledge, Lee, Laurens, Steuben, AVayne, William Washington, 
Starke, Morgan, Knox, B. Huger, Shepherd, Isaac Hayne, Montgomery, 
Jasper, Kosciusko, Wilkins, Gist, Peter Horry, Gadsden, R. Lowndes, and 
many others who had distinguished themselves in the cause of liberty in 
the fields and on the shores of Carolina. Transparencies of Washing 
ton, Hancock, Franklin and others, encircled with boughs and luxuriant 
foliage, hung at the upper end of the vast hall. In front of the build 
ing the eye was attracted to the novel appearance in our streets of a 



UNION PARTY CELEBRA TE. 43 

palmetto and hickory tree, transplanted in full bloom from the soil in 
which they originally grew, and waving in that of their adoption as 
freshly as they ever did before. The front of the building was decorated 
with two full-rigged frigates, manned and armed, mounting each fifty- 
two guns, and one rakish-looking and elegant tender all perfect models 
of naval architecture. These were each surmounted by a broad trans 
parent archway, over the centre of which appeared illuminated the 
words, " Don t give up the ship ! " Three other transparencies, allegori 
cal and emblematic, directly beneath the archway completed the deco 
rations in front. 

CEREMONIES AT THE DINNER. 

The viands and other eatables being removed, the president of the 
day called the assembly to order, when the following toasts were drank, 
accompanied by the reading of letters, and the delivery of suitable 
speeches. 

REGULAR TOASTS. 

1. The Day Consecrated to American Liberty by American Patriots: 
May this return of it revive American feelings in every American 
bosom. [Air Hail Columbia.] 

2. The Memory of Washington : May his farewell advice be engraved 
on our hearts, and his whole life illustrated in our conduct. [Solemn 
Dirge.] 

3. The Patriots of the Revolution : United they stood divided u-c fall. 
[Ye sons of Columbia who bravely have fought.] 

4. The President of the United States : He will fill the measure of his 
glory, by preserving the Union, without impairing the rights of the 
States. [The President s March.] 

5. The Yice-President of the United States: His political intimates 
have declared their sentiments of Nullification will he shrink from an 
open exposition of his own? [Let every Pagan muse be gone.] 

6. The Congress of the United States: Wisdom to their councils, 
harmony to their measures, and the happiness of the people for their 
only object. [The breeze was hush d, a star was prone.] 

7. The Governor of South Carolina: "The union of this confederation 
is the key-stone of the whole fabric of our political and national great 
ness, our civil and social prosperity. Let this sentiment enter with re 
ligious solemnity into all our public relations with our country, and 
form a theme of domestic instruction at our altars and fire-sides." Ora- 
tion Fourth July, 1821, by James Hamilton, Jr. [Governor s March.] 

8. The People of South Carolina: They will preserve the Union 
peaceably, if they can. [Home, sweet home.] 

9. The Union: The foundation on which rests American Liberty 
Destroy the one, and the other must fall. [Yankee Doodle.] 



44 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

10. The People of the United States : Let them never forget that an 
injury to one State, is an injury to all; and that the power which shall 
crush one, may destroy all. [Meeting of the waters.] 

11. The American System : The offspring of a wily ambition which 
would corrupt the people at their own expense. [ Tis all but a dream.] 

12. The Government of a Majority States and People : If this will 
not do, what will ? [Garry Owen.] 

13. The Senate of the United States The Palladium of State Rights : 
They have a veto on the proceedings of the representatives of the people. 
[As a beam o er the face of the waters.] 

14. The House of Representatives of the United States The Palla 
dium of Democracy : They have a veto on the proceedings of the Senate. 
[See from ocean rising.] 

15. The Judiciary of the United States : Nominated by the President, 
the agent of the people and States; and confirmed by the Senate, the 
agents of the States, to settle all differences under the law and the Con 
stitution. [The Light-House.] 

16. The Law of Nations The Guide of Sovereign Powers : Better ad 
ministered by a court arranged by the parties than by conflicting armies 
or artful diplomatists. [The Legacy.] 

17. The Declaration of Independence : " If governments do not answer 
the ends for which they were intended, they ought to be changed, but 
not for light and transient causes." [Jefferson s March.] 

18. State Sovereignty: If one State has the right to change the gov 
ernment, the others have a right to prevent it. [Ye mortals whom fancy 
and troubles perplex.] 

19. "State Rights and Free Trade": Preserve the Union and both 
are safe. [America, Commerce and Freedom.] 

20. The Tariff: A tax upon all a benefit to but few; it must soon be 
smothered in its own accumulations. [The day is departed.] 

21. The Memory of William Lowndes: A patriot pure for power lie 
never sought; from duty he never shrunk. [A Solemn Dirge.] 

22. "Nullification," "Secession," and "Putting the State upon its 
Sovereignty": Revolution in disguise. [Black Joe.] 

23. The Honorable William Smith Proscribed in 1830 by the Prose 
lytes he made in 1825: May the day not be at hand when he may say in 
the language of Milton 

" I did but prompt the age to quit their clogs 
By the known rules of ancient Liberty 
When straight a barbarous noise environs me ; 
They brawl for Freedom in their senseless mood, 
And still revolt ; when truth would set them free, 
License they mean, when they cry Liberty. 

[Keen blows the blast.] 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 45 

24. Charles Carroll of Carrollton The last Surviving Apostle of In 
dependence: In the morning of life, he beheld his country ushered into 
existence; God forbid that the evening of his days should be clouded 
by her destruction. [The last Eose of Summer.] 

The Honorable William Drayton : Who with more than Roman virtue, 
sacrificed the dearest ties of personal and family friendship for the good 
of his country. 

LETTERS AND SPEECHES. 

As soon as the applause with which the fourth toast was drank had 
subsided, Col. G. W. Cross, a member of the committee of arrangements, 
rose and begged leave to read for the gratification of the people the fol 
lowing correspondence with the President of the U luted States, inviting 
him to participate in the celebrations of the day, which was received 
with loud and reiterated cheers : 

CHARLESTON, S. C., June 5. 
His Excellency Andrew Jackson, President of the United States: 

SIR, The undersigned, on behalf of their fellow-citizens of " The 
Union and State Rights Party," have the honor to invite you to a 
dinner given on the approaching Fourth of July, in celebration of the 
anniversary of American Independence. 

Had we regarded this return of the birthday of our nation as an era 
of merely ordinary import, we should not perhaps have taken the liberty 
to present ourselves to you. But the case is far otherwise. 

As a native of the State of South Carolina, and one whom she has 
always delighted to honor, we do not doubt, sir, that you have felt such 
interest in the expressions of sentiment and opinion, which have been 
elicited during the progress oi affairs among us, as to be fully aware of 
the great lines of distinction draw.n between the several parties in the 
State, as well as of the portentous omens which threaten us with civil 
convulsion. It is well known to you and to the world, that the late po 
litical discussions and events have tended to loosen those bonds of fra 
ternal affection which once united the remotest parts of our great em 
pire. Geographical limits are familiarly referred to as connected with 
separate and disjoined interests, and too many of our youth are growing 
up, as we fear, and deeply lament, in the dangerous belief that these 
interests are incompatible and conflicting. 

We conceive it, sir, to be a matter of infinite importance to our coun 
try, that these fatal errors should be promptly corrected, and the feel 
ings which they engender thoroughly eradicated, that the ancient ties 
of friendship may once more knit closely together the several members 
of our happy confederacy. It is our special aim to revive in its full 
force, the benign spirit of Union to renew the mutual confidence in 
each other s good will and patriotism, without which the laws and 



46 LIFE AND TIMES OF C, G. MEMMINGER. 

statutes, and forms of government of these States, will exist in vain. 
We disclaim from the bottom of our hearts, all political or party pur 
poses of local nature or circumscribed extent. We esteem as brethren 
and associates all who cordially unite with us in devotion to our com 
mon country, and in the firm resolution to defend her institutions, and 
transmit them unimpaired to the generations that shall succeed us. 
Your sentiments in relation to this subject are well known, and have 
been repeatedly announced, and we are proud to regard you, sir, as one 
of our fathers and leaders. 

In this spirit, and with these views, we request the honor of your pre 
sence on the approaching occasion. The citizens of Charleston have 
flattered themselves with the hope that you would be able, without in 
convenience, to comply with their invitation, urged some time since 
through the municipal authorities. May we be permitted to indicate 
the period of your visit so far as that it shall include the anniversary of 
the Declaration of Independence. 

With the most respectful consideration, sir, we have the honor to be, 
your Excellency s obedient servants, 

Jontf STONEY, GEORGE WARREN CROSS, 

RENE GODARD, FRANCIS Y. PORCHER, 

JOHN STROIIECKER, JAMES MOULTRIE, 

DENNIS KANE, JAMES ADGER, 

S. HENRY DICKSON, J. HARLESTOX READ, 

WILLIAM KUNIIARDT, JOHN WAGNER, 

EDWIN P. STARR, Committee of Arrangements. 

The letter from Gen. Andrew Jackson, in reply to the above, was read, 
from the centre right by Col. Cross, from the left by Capt. E. P. Starr, 
and from the great extent of the Bower and assemblage, it not having 
been heard at the extreme ends, it was there read severally by the Hon. 
Thomas Lee and the Hon. Thomas S. Grimke. 

WASHINGTON CITY, June 14, 1831. 

Gentlemen, It would afford me much pleasure, could I at the same 
time accept your invitation of the 5th instant and that with which I was 
before honored by the municipal authorities of Charleston. A neces 
sary attention to the duties of my office must deprive me of the gratifi 
cation I should have had in paying, under such circumstances, a visit to 
the State of which I feel a pride in calling myself a citizen by birth 

Could I accept your invitation, it would be with the hope that all 
parties all the men of talent, exalted patriotism, and private worth, 
who have been divided in the manner you describe, might be found 
united before the altar of their country on the day set apart for the 
solemn celebration of its independence independence which cannot 
exist without Union, and with it is eternal. 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 47 

Every enlightened citizen must know that a separation, could it be 
effected, would begin with civil discord, and end in colonial dependence 
on a foreign power, and obliteration from the list of nations. But he 
should also see that high and sacred duties which must and will, at all 
hazards, be performed, present an insurmountable barrier to the success 
of any plan of disorganization, by whatever patriotic name it may be 
decorated, or whatever high feelings may be arrayed for its support. 
The force of these evident truths, the effect they must ultimately have 
upon the minds of those who seem for a moment to have disregarded 
them, make me cherish the belief I have expressed, that could I have 
been present at your celebration, I should have found all parties con 
curring to promote the object of your association. You have distinctly 
expressed that object " to revive in its full force the benign spirit of 
Union, and to renew the mutual confidence in each other s good will 
and patriotism." Such endeavors, calmly and firmly persevered in, can 
not fail of success. Such sentiments are appropriate to the celebration 
of that high festival which commemorates the simultaneous declaration 
of Union and Independence and when on the return of that day, we 
annually renew the pledge that our heroic fathers made of life, of for 
tune, and of sacred honor, let us never forget that it was given to sus 
tain us a United, not less than an Independent people. 

Knowing as I do, the private worth and public virtues of distin 
guished citizens to whom declarations inconsistent with an attachment 
to the Union have been ascribed, I cannot but hope that, if accurately 
reported, they were the effect of momentary excitement, not deliberate 
design ; and that such men can never have formed the project of pursu 
ing a course of redress through any other than constitutional means; 
but if I am mistaken in this charitable hope, then in the language of the 
father of our country, I would conjure them to estimate properly "the 
immense value of your national Union to your collective and individual 
happiness"; to cherish " a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment 
to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palla 
dium of your political safety and prosperity, watching for its preserva 
tion with jealous anxiety ; discountenancing whatever may suggest, even 
a suspicion, that it can, in any event, be abandoned; and indignantly 
frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any por 
tion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which 
now link together the various parts." 

Your patriotic endeavors, gentlemen, to lessen the violence of party 
dissension cannot be forwarded more effectually than by inculcating a 
reliance on the justice of our National Councils, and pointing to the fast 
approaching extinction of the public debt, as an event which must nec 
essarily produce modifications in the revenue system, by which all in 
terests, under a spirit of mutual accommodation and concession, will be 
probably protected. 



48 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

The grave subjects introduced in your letter of invitation have drawn 
from me the frank exposition of opinions which I have neither interest 
nor inclination to conceal. 

Grateful for the kindness you have personally expressed, I renew my 
expressions of regret that it is not in my power to accept your kind in 
vitation, and have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient and 
humble servant, 

(Signed) ANDREW JACKSON. 

To JOHN STONEY and others, Committee of Arrangements. 

SPEECH OF THE HON. T. R. MITCHELL. 
Dr. William Read, the first vice-president, gave the following : 

" The Hon. Thomas R. Mitchell : The uniform and consistent advocate 
both of State Rights and of the integrity of the Union." 

To which Mr. Mitchell made the following reply, during which he was 
frequently interrupted by highly approving acclamation. 

Mr. President and Gentlemen, I know not how to thank you for the kind 
sentiment which you have just expressed. The approbation of so large 
a portion of my fellow-citizens of Charleston, the great capital of the 
South and of our beloved South Carolina, is a boon given by your kind 
ness, not due to my merit. 

When I look around me and consider those who compose this meeting 
and its objects, I am overwhelmed with sadness and with joy with sad 
ness at the occasion of the meeting, the distractions of our once united 
and harmonious State ; with joy at beholding such an assemblage of in 
telligence, of virtue, of firmness, and of patriotism. We have truly met 
under the most interesting circumstances: not only to celebrate the 
most sublime and momentous event of our history, the Declaration of 
Independence, but to declare before God and our country, that we and 
ours will maintain, to the utmost of our power, the Union of the States, 
the Constitutions of the United States and that of our own beloved State, 
in their perfect integrity. These are the objects of our meeting; these 
form the bond of our Union. Differing, as many of us do, on important 
points of policy and constitutional construction, the magnitude of these 
objects is paramount to them all suppresses every discordant senti 
ment, and unites us as a band of brothers by ties stronger than those of 
blood. 

We have been charged; and it has often been repeated, with harbor 
ing imaginary fears on these subjects. Imaginary fears! When we 
have been gravely told by a high dignitary of the State, on a most sol 
emn occasion, that it is time to calculate the costs of the Union ! When 
the Hartford Convention, the only blot in our history, and which has 
hitherto called forth the execration of every Carolinian, is held up to the 
people as an example for their imitation and emulation ! When one of 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 49 

our representatives, in and out of Congress, in the back country and 
the low country, has been endeavoring by misstatements and sophisms, to 
prove the utter incompatibility of the interests of the North and South; 
to disaffect our people towards the general government, and to present 
in the most deceptive colors the advantages of a separation of our State 
from the confederacy ! When the general government has been called, 
in an official communication by the highest authority of the State, a 
foreign government! Finally, when we daily and hourly hear the raven 
sounds of disunion and civil war rung in our ears in changes on the 
word nullification. Are not these signs? signs, not of political peril, 
not of the destruction of our constitutions of government, not of the 
conflagration of our towns and of the devastation of our fields for, 
could we suppose that these misguided people had the will, they surely 
have not the power to effect their objects ; but sure and veritable signs 
of the loss by our State of the sympathy and good will of the rest of the 
Union, more especially that of the South ; of her degradation to the low 
estate of Massachusetts, when, under a similar influence, she refused to 
muster her militia at the call of the President, and convened her Hart 
ford Convention. And signs of the fall of our State from that high and 
prominent stand in the confederacy which she once held, when her sons 
gave proof of the utter nothingness of wealth and numbers, when op 
posed to virtue and talent; when, though small in representation and 
still smaller in physical force, she stood in the National Councils in 
point of influence equal to Virginia and superior to New York. Oh, had 
you witnessed the noble bearing of our little State in the government at 
Washington when her chosen son, William Lowndes, guided and gov 
erned her councils. William Lowndes ! Name most cherished, most 
dear to every Carolinian. Spotless patriot ! In thee we beheld the rare 
rivalry between goodness and greatness. These are the effects of what 
has been miscalled the Carolina doctrines as the pernicious theory of 
Henry Clay has been called the American system when it is well 
known that before its adoption freedom was the living principle of our 
commercial policy. Where and by whom have these doctrines been re 
cognized and adopted? By Georgia? No; she has solemnly disclaimed 
them. By North Carolina? Her legislature has put them down by a 
vote of 5 to 1. By Alabama a cotton State, and the youngest of the 
Southern sisterhood? They have shared there a like fate. By Virginia, 
the leading State of this great Southern equinoctial region the land 
of genius and liberty the first and most strenuous advocate of State 
Rights? No; her legislature has passed them by with studied neglect, 
while she has not a newspaper of any character which is not levelled 
against them. Where then and by whom, I ask, have they been recog 
nized and adopted? Shall I say by the one-half of our people? If I 
were to tell you that they were recognized by the one-fourth or the one- 
4 



50 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

twentieth of our population, you would charge me with exaggeration. 
I sincerely and honestly believe and this belief is founded on laborious 
researches, extended as far as I could that if the nature and tendency 
of these doctrines were fully explained and developed to all the people, 
that its advocates would in a very short time be reduced to a handful of 
factious and disorganizing politicians. 

Do not mistake me when I speak thus of the Carolina doctrines. I 
am, and have ever been, through good report and through evil report, 
without change or deviation, openly and above-board, an advocate of 
State Kights as understood and explained by Jefferson and Madison. I 
was proud to be an humble disciple in that school when the majority of 
the delegation, with which I then served, denounced them as radical; 
and Calhoun and M Duffie stigmatised them as the worst and most 
stupid of all heresies. But the faith of the Christian is not more differ 
ent from that of the Turk than the doctrine of State Eights is different 
from that of the Carolina, as it is termed. The doctrine of State Eights 
opposes only the abuses of the Constitution ; the Carolina doctrine op 
poses the Constitution itself. The doctrine of State Eights considers 
the Constitution, when administered according to its legitimate end and 
design, as the best of all governments. The Carolina doctrine con 
siders the Constitution under any circumstances as the worst, and sneers 
at it as a mongrel half horse, half alligator half national, half Federal. 
The doctrine of State Eights considers the action of the Constitution on 
the people of the States as a new and beautiful idea as one of the great 
inventions and improvements of the eighteenth century. The Carolina 
doctrine considers this action as a fungus, as an excrescence, and in all 
its reasonings and conclusions, places the State in the same attitude in 
w r hich she stood under the articles of the old Confederation. "Were I to 
be asked what is necessary for the preservation of State Eights, I should 
say a strict and literal interpretation of the Constitution. State Eights 
admit of no constructive powers but what are essentially necessary to 
the execution of the enumerated powers and the word necessary is here 
understood in a strict philosophical sense while the Carolina doctrine, 
to sustain its favorite theory of nullification, is compelled to resort to a 
latitude of construction which will make any and every thing of the Con 
stitution. Can this new light then be true light ? The doctrine of State 
Eights is as old as the Constitution itself. It was the foundation of the 
first division of parties. It has been investigated, analyzed, and dis 
cussed by patriots of transcendant minds who revered State sovereignty 
as the palladium of liberty and property. Yet who among them ever 
imagined, much less affirmed, that a State had a right to put her veto 
on the proceedings of the general government. This discovery was re 
served for Mr. Calhoun, who, his most consistent friend, M Duffie, has pro 
claimed to be the father of the great system of internal improvement ; 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 51 

and who, when at the head of the War Department and in expectation of 
the Presidency, was the zealous and uncompromising advocate of high 
taxes, conscription, and the most lavish expenditure of the people s 
money. But I will tire you no longer with a discussion so dry. 
Brothers of South Carolina, supporters of the Constitution, under the 
banner of the thirteen stripes, the sacred emblem of the Union of the 
twenty-four States, which waved triumphantly over Washington in our 
war for political independence, and over Jackson in our war for com 
mercial independence under those glorious stripes, which have been to 
our country, by sea and by land, a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by 
night under those glorious stripes, whose political influence is now 
operating on the continent of Europe from the Borysthenes to the Medi 
terranean under those sacred stripes which floated over the dead and 
mangled bodies of our fathers of the Eevolution we are celebrating the 
Fourth of July. What sentiment, in accordance with this scene, and 
with the feelings it calls forth, can I better give than the following : 

" The Union The Constitution Liberty : The true and natural order 
of things for without the Union we can have no Constitution, and 
without the Constitution no Liberty." 

SPEECH OF HUGH S. LEGARE, ESQ. 

The Hon. Thomas Lee offered the following volunteer toast: 

"Hugh S. Legare: An enlightened jurist and sound constitutional 
lawyer a friend to the Union, and an able and efficient advocate of 
State Eights." 

On which Mr. Legare rose and addressed the meeting in the sub 
joined admirable speech: 

Mr. Legare said he was obliged to the meeting for the opportunity 
offered him, according to an established usage, of saying what he 
thought and felt upon the momentous occasion, for so it seemed to 
him, that had brought them together, and would gladly avail himself 
of it to speak very much at length, were it not physically impossible to 
make himself heard in so vast an assemblage. lie thought it due to 
himself and to those who were cf the same way of thinking, that their 
sentiments should be fairly and fully expressed for he had no doubt 
that they were such as would meet the hearty concurrence of a great 
majority of the people of South Carolina. He felt the less regret, how 
ever, at the self-denial he was obliged to practice, because the able 
speech of the orator of the day had maintained the doctrines which he 
(Mr. L.) professed, and for which, as the representative of the people of 
Charleston, he had strenuously, and he flattered himself, not unsuccess 
fully, contended in the Legislature of the State during several succes 
sive sessions. These doctrines they had heard expounded and enforced 
that morning by a man and in a manner worthy of the proudest days of 



52 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

this proud city, nor did he think that any one could have listened to 
that discourse without being the wiser and better for it. 

It has been frequently thrown out of late, in the language of com 
plaint and censure, said Mr. L., and on a recent occasion, very emphati 
cally, by a gentleman for whom on every account, I entertain the 
profoundest respect, that there is a certain party among us who seem 
much more intent upon correcting the errors of some of our states 
men" (as they are said mode&fly to express it) than upon putting their 
shoulders to the wheel along with the rest of their fellow-citizens, in an 
honest and manly effort to relieve the State from the burthens under 
which it is thought to be sinking in plain English, that their pretended 
hostility to the tariff acts is all a sham. Sir, this would be a severe re 
buke, if it were deserved. I, for one, should be very sorry to think that 
the part I am taking in the proceedings of this day were open to that 
construction. God knows it was with extreme reluctance that I made 
up my mind to take this step. But what was I to do ? "What alterna 
tive has been left us by those who have the constructive majority of the 
State, that is to say, the majority of the Legislature at their back ? 
They have chosen to narrow down the whole controversy concerning the 
American system to a single point. They have set up an issue and 
demand a categorical expression of opinion upon the expediency of 
immediately interposing the sovereign power of the State, to prevent 
the execution of the tariff law. That is to say, according to Mr. M Duf- 
fie s reading (the only sensible reading) of that rather ambiguous phrase, 
to raise the standard of the State, and to summon her subjects, by the 
allegiance which they owe to her, to gather around it in order to resist 
a law of Congress. Sir, if I do not misunderstand all that we have re 
cently heard from men in high places (and if I do misunderstand them, 
it is not because I have not most anxiously and patiently examined 
whatever they have said and done), this, and this alone, is the question 
now before us. In such a question all minor considerations are swal 
lowed up and lost. Upon such a question, no man can, or ought to be 
no man in the face of a community, excited and divided as this is, dare 
be neutral. It is propounded to us after the fashion of the old Roman 
Senate : You who think thus, go thither you who are of any other opinion 
stay here. The country calls upon every individual, however humble he 
may be, to take his post in this mighty conflict. Sir, I obey that para 
mount command, and be it for weal, or be it for woe, be it for glory, or 
be it for shame, for life and for death, here I am. 

But, sir, I repeat it, I should most deeply regret that what we are 
now doing should be thought to give any countenance to any part of 
the "American system." It is known, I believe, to everybody present, 
from various publications which have been long before the community, 
that I think that system unconstitutional, unjust and inexpedient. This 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 53 

Opinion I did not take up hastily for with regard to the tariff, I, in 
common with everybody else in the State, once thought it within the 
competency of Congress. But more mature inquiry has resulted in a 
change of my opinion upon that subject, and although I dare not ex 
press myself so confidently in respect to it as it is the habit of the times 
to do, I must be permitted to say that I am more and more strengthened 
in that conviction by every day s experience and reflection. Sir, if I 
had any doubt about the matter, the proceedings of this day would be 
sufficient to dispel it. It is melancholy to think of the change which has 
been made in the feelings and opinions of some of the best and ablest 
men among us, by this pernicious system to reflect that alienation and 
distrust, nay, in some instances, perhaps, that wrath and hostility now 
possess those bosoms which were but a few years ago warmed with the 
loftiest and the holiest enthusiasm for the government of their own and 
their fathers choice. The authors of this policy are indirectly responsi 
ble for this deplorable state of things, and for all the consequences that 
may grow out of it. They have been guilty of an inexpiable offence 
against their country. They found us a united, they have made us a 
distracted people. They found the Union of these States an object of 
fervent love and religious veneration ; they have made even its utility 
a subject of controversy among very enlightened men. They have 
brought us not peace, but a sword. It is owing to this policy that the 
government has to bear the blame of whatever evils befall the people, 
from natural or accidental causes that whether our misfortunes spring 
from the barrenness of the earth, or the inclemency of the seasons, or 
the revolutions of commerce, or a defective system of domestic and rural 
economy or, in short, from any other source, they are all indiscrimi 
nately imputed to the tariff. The decay and desolation which are in 
vading many parts of the lower country the fall in the price of our 
great staple commodity the comparative unproductiveness of slave 
labor are confidently declared to be the effects of this odious and tyran 
nical monopoly. Sir, firmly convinced as I am that there is no sort of 
connection (or an exceedingly slight one) between these unquestion 
able facts and the operation of the tariff law, yet I do not wonder at the 
indignation which the imposition of such a burthen of taxation has ex 
cited in our people in the present unprosperous state of their affairs. I 
have sympathized and do sympathize with them too deeply to rebuke 
them for their feelings, however improper I deem it to be to act upon 
such feelings, as recklessly as some of their leaders would have them do. 
Sir, it is not only as a Southern man that I protest against the tariff 
law. The doctrine of free trade is a great fundamental doctrine of civ 
ilization. The world must come to it at last if the visions of improve 
ment in which we love to indulge are ever to be realized. It has been 
justly remarked that most of the wars which have, for the last two cen- 



54 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

turies, desolated Europe, and stained the land and sea with blood, 
originated in the lust of colonial empire or commercial monopoly. 
Great nations cannot be held together under a united government by any 
thing short of despotic power; if any one part of a country is to be ar 
rayed against another in a perpetual scramble for privilege and protec 
tion, under any system of protection, they must fall to pieces, and if 
the same blind selfishness and rapacity animate the fragments which 
had occasioned the disunion of the whole, there will be no end to the 
strife of conflicting interests. When you add to the calamities of public 
wars and civil dissensions, the crimes created by tyrannical revenue 
laws, and the bloody penalties necessary to enforce them, the injustice 
done to many branches of industry, to promote the success of others, 
the pauperism, the misery, the discontent, the despair, and the thousand 
social disorders which such a violation of the laws of nature never fails 
to engender, you will admit, I think, that the cause of free trade is the 
great cause of human improvement. Sir, I can never sufficiently de 
plore the infatuation which has brought such a scourge upon this 
favored land which has entailed, so to speak, the curse of an original 
sin upon a new world, and upon the continually multiplying millions 
that are to inhabit it. Most heartily shall I co-operate in any measure, 
not revolutionary, to do away with the system which has already become 
a fountain of bitter waters to us which threatens to become to another 
generation a source of blood and tears and I heartily rejoice at the 
dawn, of hope which has opened upon us in the proposed convention at 
Philadelphia. Not that I am sanguine as to the immediate results of 
such a meeting; but if it be filled, as it ought to be, with leading and 
enlightened men from all parts of the country, which think as we do 
upon this great subject, it will awaken the attention of the people, it 
will lead to general discussion, it will give scope, if I may so express it, 
for the operation of those momentous truths on which we rely, and I 
cannot, and will not despair of the Republic, as it came down to us from 
the most venerable band of sages and heroes that ever laid the founda 
tion of a great empire, until I become satisfied by much better evidence 
than any I have yet seen, that it is in vain to appeal to the good sense 
and kindly feelings of the American people. Meanwhile, to the measure 
which is now under consideration, and which, by whatever name it 
may be called, is, in my opinion, essentially revolutionary, I am, as I 
ever have been, decidedly opposed. I regarded it, when it was first 
mentioned in 1828, as an ill-omened and disastrous project calculated 
to divide us among ourselves, to alienate from us the minds of our nat 
ural allies in such a struggle, the agricultural States in our neighbor 
hood, and to involve us in difficulties from which we should not be able 
to retreat without dishonor, and in which we could not persevere with 
out inevitable and irretrievable ruin I might have been wrong, but I 



tJNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 65 

acted upon deep and solemn conviction, and I thank God, from the bot 
tom of my heart, for being permitted to indulge in the consoling per 
suasion, that my humble labors on that memorable occasion did con 
tribute in some degree to avert these calamities. 

Sir, this is no occasion for going into a detailed analysis of the doc 
trine of nullification, a doctrine which, as taught in The Exposition, 
I undertake to say, involves just as many paradoxes and contradictions 
as there are topies relied on to maintain it but I cannot refrain from 
presenting a single view of it, which is of itself entirely conclusive. You 
will observe, Mr. President, that the difference between us and the ad 
vocates of this doctrine, is not as to the question how far a State is 
bound to acquiesce in an unconstitutional act of Congress ; or (which 
is the same thing) how far it has a right " to interpose to arrest the pro 
gress "of such legislation. We admit this right in the most unquali 
fied manner; for if the law be unconstitutional, it is no law at all. So 
far there is no difference and can be no difference between us. The 
question is not as to the right, nor even as to the remedy, but as to 
what shall ensue upon the exercise of the right, or the application of the 
remedy. The advocates of nullification insist upon it, that the interfer 
ence of the States in such a case would be a peaceful act we say it 
would be, even upon their own showing, an act of war a revolutionary 
measure a remedy derived from a source above all law, and an au 
thority which bows to no arbiter but the sword and this is susceptible 
of as rigorous demonstration as any point within the whole compass of 
public law. 

For the sake of argument, I concede all that the most extravagant 
writers in our newspapers have ever assumed, and a great deal more 
than the most able of them can prove I will grant that the government 
of the United States is no government at all that it is not only a com 
pact between independent States, but that it is a compact of no peculiar 
solemnity or efficacy conveying no powers not usually granted by in 
ternational treaties, establishing no intimate relations between the dif 
ferent parts of the country, not subjecting the citizen, in the least, to 
the jurisdiction of the federal courts, not binding upon his conscience, 
not imposing upon him the obligations of allegiance, not making him 
liable in any case to the penalties of treason. I will put the case as 
strongly as possible for the advocates of the doctrine. I will suppose 
that this constitution, of which we have been boasting so much for near 
half a century, is found out to be a league between foreign powers, and 
that every question that can arise under it, is in the strictest sense of 
the word, a merely political question. What then, sir? Did you ever 
hear of one party to a league having a right not to judge for himself 
of its meaning, mark the distinction ; but to bind the other party by 
his judgment? I admit that there is no common arbiter that each of 



56 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

the parties is to judge for himself does that mean that he shall judge 
for the others, too ? A compact between States is as binding as a com 
pact between individuals it creates what is called by text writers " a 
perfect obligation " there is no doubt but that a sovereignty is obliged 
before God and man scrupulously to fulfil the conditions of its agree 
ments. But sovereignties with regard to each other are in a state of 
nature they have no common superior to enforce compliance with 
their covenants; and if any difference arise as to their rights and lia 
bilities under them, what says the law of nature and nations ? Why 
what can it say, but that each shall do as he pleases or that force shall 
decide the controversy? Is there any imaginable alternative between 
the law and the sword, between the judgment of some regularly con 
stituted umpire, chosen beforehand by the common consent of the con 
tracting parties, and the ultima ratio regum? Sir, we have been told 
that State sovereignty is and ought to be governed by nothing but its 
own "feelings of honorable justice" it comes up in the declamation of 
the day, to the description of that irrascible, imperious and reckless 
hero, whose wrath and the woes it brought upon his country are an 
admirable theme for an epic or a tragic song, but would not, I suppose, 
be recommended as the very highest of all possible examples in morality. 

Impiger, iracundus, inexorabilis, acer 

Jura negat sibi nata, mini non arrogat armis. 

Yet strange to say, the very men who paint to us the sovereignty of the 
States in such colors, and would cavil about the ninth part of a hair 
where their own rights and interests are concerned, forget entirely that 
there are any other parties to the compact but South Carolina, or that 
those parties have any rights to exercise, or any interests to maintain ! 
"We have a right to judge for ourselves," say they, " how far we are 
bound by the Constitution, or how far we shall comply with it." Grant 
it. But what of the other twenty-three parties? Are they bound by 
our decision? Shall they not think for themselves, because we say that 
an act, which they have all declared (or the great majority of them) to 
be within the meaning of the treaty and binding upon us, is not so? If 
our opinion is just we are not bound. Admit it. But if their s is just 
we are bound. Now the whole fallacy of the argument on the other 
side consists in coolly taking for granted the very matter in dispute in 
blotting out this if in denying to others the very right of judging which 
we claim for ourselves and in expecting them, exacting it of them, to 
act upon our convictions instead of their own. 

Sir, it may be that they will do so. Instances upon instances have 
been laboriously compiled of late by a writer in one of the leading 
journals of the country, to show how often the government has been 
forced, right or wrong, to yield to the resistance of the States. I shall 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 57 

say nothing of these examples except that some of them have never 
been mentioned until recently but with scorn and indignation. But I 
maintain that not one of them no, not one goes to show that the 
other parties to the compact might not, if they had been so minded, 
have rightfully insisted upon enforcing their construction of the con 
tract, I will only remark as to Georgia and the Cherokees, that as that 
State was clearly right in her pretensions from first to last, so she main 
tained her rights by open force, and made no scruple about professing 
to do so. 

Mr. President, the argument which I now advance is too clear for 
controversy. It addresses itself to the common sense of mankind, and 
the bare stating of it is sufficient to show how incongruous and absurd 
the doctrine of the veto is, so far as it rests upon general reasonings 
and the law of nature the only law acknowledged by sovereigns. But 
if any authority be wanted to confirm it, then is abundance of it at hand. 
Look into the writings of publicists they are all full of it. By the estab 
lished law of nations, eacli party construes a treaty for itself; but then 
it allows the other to do the same, and if the difference between them 
be deemed important enougli that other has the option either of rescind 
ing the whole treaty (in the case before us, putting the State out of the 
Union,) or making war to enforce it. "If one of the allies fails in his 
engagements (says Vattel), the other may constrain him to fulfil them; 
this is the right derived from a perfect promise. But if he has no other 
way but that of arms to constrain an ally to keep his word, it is some 
times more expedient to disengage himself from his promises and break 
the treaty. He has undoubtedly a right to do this; having promised 
only on condition that his ally shall accomplish on his side every thing 
he is obliged to perform. The ally offended or injured in what relates 
to the treaty, may then choose either to oblige the perfidious ally to 
fulfil his engagements or declare the treaty broken by the violation." 
Vatt. Sec. 200. This civilian then proceeds to lay down the rule that the 
violation of one article of the treaty is a violation of the whole. He admits 
that it ought not to be rashly done, and says that the sovereign deeming 
himself aggrieved " is permitted to threaten the other to renounce the 
entire treaty a menace that may be lawfully put into execution if it 
be despised. Such is, doubtless, the conduct which prudence, modera 
tion, the love of peace and charity would commonly prescribe to 
nations. AVho will deny this, and madly advance that sovereigns are 
allowed suddenly to have recourse to arms or only to break every treaty 
of alliance for the least subject of complaint? But the case here is 
about a right, and not about the steps that ought to be taken besides 
the principle upon which such a [contrary] decision is founded, is abso 
lutely unsupportable," &c., and he goes on to demonstrate this more at 
large. He quotes Grotius to show that the clause is sometimes inserted, 



58 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

" that a violation of some one of the articles shall not break the whole in 
order that one of the parties should not get rid of the engagement on 
account of a small offense." See Sec. 202. 

Now it would be mere cavilling to say that Vattel allows of this ap 
peal to arms only where the party that has recourse to such measures 
is, in fact, injured; for the question recurs who is to judge of that? 
Each party judges for itself at its peril, and war alone can "arbitrate 
the event," or if a peaceful course be preferred, the whole compact is at 
an end. 

Shall I be told, in answer to this reasoning and the concurring opin 
ions of all publicists of respectability, that Mr. Madison and Mr. Jeffer 
son did not think so in 98 ? Sir, if they taught any other doctrine, I 
leave it to those who have better understanding than mine, to explain 
what they meant. But if it be affirmed that the purport of their resolu 
tions was, that by the inherent attribute of sovereignty, any single party 
to the Federal compact may interpose in order to prevent the execution 
of a law passed by the rest, and that the others may not maintain their 
construction of the Constitution, either by coercing that single State 
into acquiescence, or shutting her out of the Union altogether, at their 
option, then I have no hesitation in declaring it, as my* opinion, that 
they advanced a proposition, inconsistent with every principle of public 
law, without a shadow of foundation in the Constitution of the United 
States, and utterly repugnant to the common sense of mankind. And 
what, if they did advance such a paradox, so novel, so singular, so in 
comprehensible ? Are the opinions of two men however respectable 
and distinguished speculative opinions, too, for neither Virginia nor 
Kentucky made a case by acting upon these notions are the adven 
turous and speculative opinions of two individuals, conceived and put 
forth in a time of great excitement, to settle the public law of this 
country, every thing in our Constitution, and our books, and our com 
mon sense to the contrary, notwithstanding ? Why, sir, even under the 
feudal system a scheme of organized anarchy, if I may use the ex 
pression the most that an injured feudatory ever claimed was the right 
to make war upon his lord, who denied him justice, without incurring the 
penalties of treason. But it was reserved for the nineteenth century to 
discover that great secret of international law and to deduce it, too, by 
abstract reasoning, upon the fitness of things a right of war in one 
party out of twenty-four, whenever the mood prompts, or of doing what 
amounts to an act of war, accompanied by the duty of implicit acqui 
escence in all the rest ! But the truth is, that neither Mr. Jefferson nor 
Mr. Madison had any such wild and chimerical conceits ; as, I think, 
perfectly demonstrable from the very text cited, to maintain the op 
posite opinion. 

I have had occasion, frequently, to examine this subject, and I speak 
with confidence upon it. And, assuredly, that confidence is not dimin- 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 59 

ished by the emphatic declaration of Mr. Madison himself by the con 
temporaneous exposition of the resolutions in the Virginia Assembly 
by the disavowal of the doctrine by all the leading members of the Dem 
ocratic party, with Mr. Livingston at their head and by the unfeigned 
surprise which the whole country, Virginia and Kentucky included, ex 
pressed upon the first propounding of this extraordinary proposition in 
1823. The Virginia resolutions talk of the right to interpose do they 
say what is to ensue upon the exercise of that right? No, sir, they 
thought that intelligible enough they were asserting no more than 
what has been so expressively and pointedly designated as the "right to 
fight," and they meant, if they meant anything, no more than a declara 
tion of opinion, to back their declarations by 100,000 militia, as I under 
stand the phrase of the day to have been. This is the plain English of 
the matter and one ground of objection to the "Carolina doctrine," as 
it has been called (though I doubt, not very accurately), is, that it is not 
in plain English that the people may be led by a fatal deception to 
do what they have never seriously contemplated, and what no people 
ought to do, without a solemn self-examination and a deliberate view 
to consequences. 

Sir, we have heard of " nursery tales of raw head and bloody bones." 
I am sorry that such an expression escaped the lips of the distinguished 
person who uttered it, and I lament still more that he gave it to the 
world in print. I am sure when he comes to reconsider, he cannot 
approve it unless, indeed, he means to declare that the rest of the 
States are too cowardly or too feeble even to attempt to enforce their 
construction of the compact. This may be so, but for my part, I cannot 
consent to act upon such a calculation. If we do what we firmly believe 
it is oar duty to do, let us make up our minds to meet all consequences. 
If there is any feature of the American Revolution more admirable than 
another, it is that our fathers had fully counted the costs before they 
took a single step. The leaders of the people were at great pains to 
inform them of the perils and privations which they were about to 
encounter. They put them upon their guard against precipitate deter 
minations. They impressed it upon their minds that a period was at 
hand which called for " patience and heroic martyrdom " they had not 
as yet a country to save, or a government worth to be transmitted to 
posterity, or how much more anxious would their deliberations have 
been ! The language of a great, popular leader at Boston, before the 
first overt act of resistance, has made a deep impression upon my mind, 
and deserves to be repeated here. " It is not the spirit that vapours 
within these walls (said Mr. Quincy) that must stand us instead. The 
exertions of this day will call forth events which will make a very dif 
ferent spirit necessary for our salvation. Look to the end. Whoever 
supposes that shouts and hosannas will terminate the trials of this day 
entertains a childish fancy. We must be grossly ignorant of the impor- 



60 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGEH. 

tance and the value of the prize we are contending for; we must be 
equally ignorant of the power of those who are contending against us ; 
we must be blind to that malice, inveteracy, and insatiable revenge 
which actuate our enemies, to hope we shall end this controversy without 
the sharpest, sharpest conflicts ; to flatter ourselves that popular resolves, 
popular harangues, popular acclamations and popular vapour will van 
quish our foes. Let us consider the issue. Let us weigh and consider 
before we advance to those measures which must bring on the most try 
ing and terrible struggle this country ever saw." 

To this complexion it must come at last, and the only question now 
submitted to the people of South Carolina is, Are you ready to absolve 
yourselves from your allegiance to the government of the United States, 
and to take and maintain your station as a separate commonwealth 
among the nations of the earth? 

I have confined myself, in the discussion of this subject, to a single 
point in one branch of it. I have said nothing about the extent of our 
grievances, so enormously exaggerated by the Exposition. Even in 
regard to the proposed remedy by nullification, I have chosen to take 
up the question as it is presented by the warmest advocates of that doc 
trine and I submit that I have made it plain that, even on their own 
showing, it is necessarily an act of war a revolutionary measure. But 
in doing so I have conceded a great deal too much I have allowed 
them to treat our elaborate and peculiar polity, which we have been 
taught to regard as one of the master-pieces of human invention as if 
it were the coarsest and loosest of those occasional expedients to pre 
serve peace among foreign powers, leagues, offensive and defensive. If 
their argument is wholly inconclusive, and indeed manifestly incon 
gruous and absurd even in this point of view, what shall be said of it 
when it is thoroughly and critically examined with reference to a true 
state of the case ? Sir, I have no language to express my astonishment 
that such a doctrine should have found any countenance from the able 
and enlightened men who have given in their adhesion to it. 

AVe have been taunted as submissionists I am not afraid of a nick 
name " Tis the eye of childhood that fears a painted devil." It would 
be easy very, very easy to retort but I prefer accepting our own 
denomination and putting my own interpretation upon it. I give you, 
sir 

<; The Submission Men of South Carolina: 

They dare do all that maj become a man, 
Who dares do more is none/ " 

SPEECH OF JAMES L. PETIGRU, ESQ. 

By James Adger, Esq., one of the Vice-Presidents : 
"James L. Petigru : Enlightened able faithful fearless. His coun 
try looks to him in the hour of need and she will not be disappointed." 
This toast was most cordially received. 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 61 

Mr. Petigru rose and addressed the meeting in an eloquent, patriotic 
and fearless speech, and was frequently interrupted by the cheering 
enthusiasm of the company. The following is the speech : 

Fellow-Citizens, I receive with deep sensibility this expression of 
your approbation, perfectly conscious that the sentiment is due not to 
any merit of mine, but to the cause in which I am devoutly engaged 
with so many better and abler men. In defence of the Uriion, Constitu 
tion and Liberties of the country, my fellow-citizens may indeed count 
upon me to the full measure of all the aid that I can bring. I will be 
excused for saying a few words on the subjects connected with our party. 

To love our country in the most extended acceptation of the word, 
and to honor her free institutions, was till very lately the character of 
every one aspiring to the praise of a good citizen. Those institutions 
are now the subjects of reproach and obloquy to that degree that we 
are from certain quarters daily urged as a matter of duty to resist the 
laws of the Union. 

And why should we resist ? Because, it is said, that the tariff of pro 
tecting duties is unconstitutional and ruinous to the South. These are 
grave charges; but we ought to be clear in our own minds that we pro 
ceed on sure grounds before we take a step by which we put at stake 
our honor and the peace and happiness of our country. That the tariff 
of protecting duties ought never to have been passed that it is contrary 
to the spirit of amity and mutual concession in which the Constitution 
was conceived, and in which the government ought to be executed, I 
freely admit that it is injurious to the South I firmly believe ; but, that 
it is unconstitutional, I wholly deny; and that it is ruinous in its ope 
ration on the South is no more than a rhetorical nourish. In such an 
address a very brief view is all that can be attempted. 

Passing over the power of imposing duties, which is granted exclu 
sively to Congress though I never can concede that the enumerated 
objects of this power refer to anything more than the purposes to which 
the revenue arising from these duties is to be applied or that Congress 
have no discretion to make a difference between the objects of taxation 
on account of the resulting and incidental effects of imposts in their 
operation on the country, I will place the question on the power to reg 
ulate commerce. This power is given exclusively and absolutely. Now, 
although we may justly condemn the mode and manner in which it has 
been done, all my dislike to the measure itself, all my unfeigned defer 
ence for the opinions of some who think differently, cannot shake me 
in declaring as my settled conviction that the obnoxious laws are to all 
intents and purposes regulations of commerce, and such regulations, 
too, as all commercial nations have invariably made. Let it be admitted 
that these regulations were made expressly with a view to their effect 
on manufactures. The resulting and incidental effect of such regula 
tions is within the discretion of Congress. The intent of commercial 



62 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

regulations is not to benefit the merchant only, but to consult the 
interests of all, and the lawgiver must take into consideration the 
resulting consequences as well as the direct effect of the law. Where 
there is discretion, it may, from the nature of things, it must be fre 
quently badly exercised ; and in the late .revenue laws I firmly believe 
that it has been much abused. But take away the supposed inequality 
of these laws, in the unequal burthen imposed on the South, and the 
constitutional objection vanishes. Suppose the benefits of them to be 
equally felt in this and in every other State, and it is incredible that 
any man would believe they were not within the province of the general 
government. 

Then, admitting that the tariff presses unequally on the States, and 
imposes a greater burthen on the South than on the rest of the country, 
will this prove it unconstitutional ? Such a state of things is highly 
improper; but the constitutionality of a law cannot possibly be deter 
mined on this ground. We can draw no other line than the Constitution 
has drawn : that imposts shall be equal in all the States, and no prefe 
rence given to the ports of one State over those of another. If from 
extrinsic causes some States pay more than others, or pay with less facil 
ity, it is a difficulty, in a great measure, inseparable from the nature of 
the thing ; and a risk of which our forefathers were neither ignorant nor 
regardless when they entered into the Federal compact. While we take 
the benefits of that compact, we must stand to its terms and abide by 
it like men. I have great repugnance to the idea of construing a writ 
ten instrument one way to-day and another way to-morrow, as interest 
predominates. The construction, I maintain, is not new; it is the same 
that was placed on the instrument by those who made it, and was sanc 
tioned again and again, and even recently by the voice of South Caro 
lina. It is certainly an unpleasant thing, after giving a deliberate 
opinion in a matter, in which one either is or thinks himself disinter 
ested, to find that with the discovery of his interest comes the discovery 
of new light, and a total change of opinion. Let us place our opposition 
on the true ground, on the excess and impolicy of the protecting duties, 
and abide by our bargain. When the evil becomes enormous, the rem 
edy lies in the principle of self-preservation, and the resort to revolu 
tionary force. 

But is the evil of that magnitude as to induce us to give up all the 
advantages of a stable government all the ennobling associations of 
our common history, and the endearing ties of blood, as the price of 
relief from its pressure ? On this point I appeal with confidence to the 
true sons of America, native and adopted. They will not weigh their 
allegiance against dross, nor calculate for how much money their coun 
try may be sold. The monstrous exaggerations of the State Bights 
and Free Trade Party have been exposed to-day by a master s hand. 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 63 

Our orator has abolished the flimsy theory of nullification, and poured 
a flood of light on the mysterious darkness that filled the land of the 
producer with baleful images of ruin and tyranny, and boundless exac 
tion. I rely on the republican virtue of our countrymen. Stripped of 
the prejudice arising from the supposed unconstitutionality of the mea 
sure, notwithstanding all the exaggeration with which the subject has 
been surrounded, the amount of the protecting duties would never jus 
tify in their hearts the contemplation of disunion and fratricidal dis 
cord. In this hope I shall rely, with the assurance that supported our 
countrymen in the darkest day of our history. But if the worst must 
come, if this Union, formed by the wisdom and cemented by the blood of 
the patriots of the Revolution, must be torn asunder, and its fragments 
given to the winds, my earnest prayer shall be that before the fatal day 
that sees America a divided people, I may sleep in the silent grave, far 
from " the dissonance of that wild rout " that shall announce the triumph 
of misrule and the downfall of my country s glory. 
Mr P., being called upon for a sentiment, gave: 

" The Constitution of the United States : May it continue to the latest 
ages a monument of the truth that mankind are capable of self-govern 
ment." 

SPEECH OF THE HON. DANIEL ELLIOTT HUGER. 

By Dr. James Moultrie, Jr., one of the Vice-Presidents: 
" The Hon. Daniel Elliott Iluger : Honor to the man, and success to the 
principles of him who seeks to save the State, and not rule it." 

In this toast the company recognized a compliment to one they knew 
to be highly deserving of it, and accordingly it was received with the 
warmest manifestations of their approbation. 

General Huger, after acknowledging the compliment with which he 
had been honored, said : 

It was not the less gratifying that I am obliged to attribute it to your 
partiality and not to any merits of my own. If, gentlemen, I am au 
thorized to claim any merit, it is that in which you all participate the 
merit of loving oar country our whole country that country which 
the fathers of American liberty and independence had won with united 
swords, and cemented into one people with their united blood. It is the 
benefit of such an Union we have been called upon to calculate. We, 
gentlemen, cannot calculate the benefits of loving our country, it must 
be left to such as are more cool, more dispassionate, more or less of men 
than we are, to apply the rules of geometry to our love of country ; 
nor am I disposed to sympathize, on this great national day, with such 
as are hunting out the lines which once divided British provinces, but 
now obliterated with the blood of our patriot fathers, in the hope of find 
ing some flaw in the title of the American people to that Union which 
the father of our country had so emphatically recommended to us as 



\. 



64 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MElfmNGER. 

essential to the existence of our liberty and independence. In the 
earlier days of the Revolution, these lines were more visible, as well as 
those nice distinctions between British power and American rights; but, 
as the Revolution advanced, these differences and distinctions faded, 
and at its close, when that proud banner (the American flag) waved over 
the heads of the conquerors of Europe, and more, conquerors over 
themselves, no other claim to Union, liberty and independence was pre 
tended, than the will of our fathers, and their ability to enforce that 
will. 

As yet, we have had no cause to resort to such distinctions, to sustain 
our rights or defend the honor of South Carolina. What the Constitu 
tion of our common country will not afford, the Declaration of Indepen 
dence will. These are the muniments of our title to liberty and inde 
pendence, and by these, and these alone, are we willing to be governed. 
To these our fathers subscribed; and by these we are in honor bound. 
These, too, are the great charters of this great confederated republic. 
As long as we all North, South, East and West resort to these com 
mon sources of our rights and faith, we shall be united and free; but if 
new lights are followed, if schismatics are encouraged, the unity of our 
faith must be destroyed, and all the confusion and evils which sectarian 
zeal and rage have produced in religion, will be experienced in our 
political concerns. We are now equal with all; but will continue so no 
longer than our great charter shall be preserved. It is not enough that 
we feel inconveniences, and are dissatisfied with the measures of gov 
ernment, to authorize its destruction. With no government can we 
be always satisfied, as long as we are free. When all are permitted to 
think, and to act as they think, differences of opinion and action must 
follow. For this, the first and best care is a submission to a majority 
of the people. If this will not do, republicanism is a cruel fallacy. If 
the minority cannot submit to a majority, by whom are they to be gov 
erned? Themselves? How? Still a majority must govern, or all must 
be governed by a despot. There are evils against which the wisdom of 
man cannot provide. We must meet them when they come. When 
this or any other government shall so oppress the minority as to render 
it insupportable, that minority must break off but this will be an evil, 
come when it may. No people yet have ever changed their government 
by virtue of their sovereignty, without great privations and sufferings. 
Let the Constitution be changed in the mode prescribed by the Consti 
tution, and no civil war can follow; but to force a State from the Fed 
eral Union, must shake society to its foundation life, liberty and pro 
perty must be put at hazard. This may become necessary; but has 
that necessity occurred? When it shall occur, Carolinians will not look 
to metaphysicians for their rule of conduct ; they have a better in the 
Declaration of Independence. 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 65 

Could I believe, with a much respected representative of the State, 
that of our bales we are robbed by forties out of hundreds to enrich 
the Northern manufacturers, I too would be for " putting the State on 
her sovereignty." I love his boldness he says what he thinks, and 
would do what he says. He thinks we are robbed, and should " at 
every hazard" defend our property. But has the robbery been proved? 
This is a question for the country ; and if they are not adequate to the 
decision of this question, they should be despoiled of their liberty. 
The people can and ought to decide this question ; and if the robbery 
be found, my voice will be for war. As one of the people, I will never 
abandon my right to understand our statesmen. The only security for 
freedom is jealousy. Let the people be indifferent as to their rights, 
and they will soon have a guardian. There are always kind, generous, 
chivalrous men enough to carry on government, and take good care of 
the people, without the smallest disposition to ask for advice, or ex 
plain their conduct. Sufficient proof has not been given of the robbery 
charged. I shall now endeavor to show that no robbery has been com 
mitted; and if I succeed in this, as I hope to do, my friend must be by 
my side. 

That a tax on imported cotton goods may lessen the price of cotton 
wool, is not denied; this effect, however, will only follow when the tax 
lessens the consumption of the goods. If the price of goods be so much 
advanced by the tax as to diminish the consumption, this must neces 
sarily diminish the demand for cotton wool and the price of cotton, 
like everything else, must depend upon demand and supply. If the 
supply is the same, and the demand be lessened, the price of cotton 
wool will fall ; and so if the demand be the same, and the supply be in 
creased, the price must fall. If the consumption of cotton goods be 
diminished, and the price of cotton wool consequently falls, this fall 
will affect equally all the cottons in the general market. Liverpool is 
the general market of all cottons that compete with ours. A fall in the 
Liverpool market must affect, not only American cotton, but the cot 
tons grown in Europe, the Indies, and South America. Whatever in 
jury, therefore, is done by this supposed reduction in consumption of 
cotton wool, must be divided between all the cottons in the general 
market. If the reduction in consumption be 10, 20 or 30 per cent, in 
America, where are consumed from 250,000 to 300,000 bales, the 10, 20 or 
30 per cent, on these 300,000 bales must be divided between all the cottons, 
the price of which is regulated by the Liverpool market, which is sup 
posed to be from 1,750,000 to 2,000,000 bales. Our duty, therefore, can 
affect but slightly the price of American cottons. How much, Mr. Say 
is of opinion, it is difficult to decide, and I, therefore, shall not attempt 
to do so. I have said that the price of cotton wool cannot be affected 
but by a diminished consumption of cotton goods. I shall now attempt 



66 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

to show that so far from the consumption of cotton goods having been 
diminished since 1824, the date of the first objectionable tariff, it has 
increased probably one-third. On reference to the reports of the Secre 
tary of the Treasury, it will be seen that no diminution has taken place 
in the importation of cotton goods since 1824. At the nominal or money 
value of cotton goods, the average importations since 1824 are equal to 
the average importations before ; but taken at their exchangeable or real 
value, the quantity of cotton goods imported since 1824 is greater than 
it was before ; that is, as cotton goods sell much cheaper now than be 
fore 1824, the quantity of cotton goods valued at $8,000,000 now, is 
greater than the cotton goods valued at $8,000,000 before 1824. If this 
statement be correct, the importation of cotton goods has not dimin 
ished since the adoption of the present protective system. 

But on reference to the speech of the distinguished statesman already 
alluded to, it will further appear that $16,000,000 of cotton goods are 
now manufactured in the United States, which, in conjunction with the 
$8,000,000 imported, makes the present consumption $24,000,000. The 
production of our manufactures has probably doubled since 1824. If 
so, the consumption then must have been $8,000,000 imported and $8,000,- 
000 manufactured at home, making in all $16,000,000 ; the present con 
sumption being $24,000,000, leaves an increased consumption of one-third, 
or $8,000,000 in the last six years. This increased consumption is at 
least equal to the increased population of the United States. It does 
not appear then that the protective system, as far as we can follow it, 
has diminished the price of cotton. The price of cotton has been dimin 
ished by other and adequate causes. In the last few years we have 
nearly doubled our production ; probably 450,000 have been added to 
our former production, and the increased production elsewhere has kept 
pace with ours. It is probable that 750,000 bales have been added in 
the last few years to the former supply in the Liverpool market; so 
great an increased production must have diminished the price of cotton 
wool. If the consumption had not also increased, the price would have 
been still more diminished. The consumption has been increasing 
everywhere, and must be forever checking the effects of over-produc 
tion ; the lower cotton is, the cheaper cotton goods become ; the cheaper 
cotton goods become, the greater the consumption; the greater the 
consumption, the greater the demand for cotton ; the greater the de 
mand for cotton, the higher the price. This is the circle in which it 
must move, and if it be true that the consumption had been diminished 
by our protective system, and thus lowered the price of cotton in Liver 
pool for a moment, it would soon be met by increased consumption else 
where, which would in turn raise the price of cotton wool. If we suffer 
no more from the protective system than do the consumers throughout 
the United States, can we, ought we, to complain of burthens imposed 



UNION PA RTY CELEBRA TE. 67 

by the representatives of all upon all? It may be impolitic to encour 
age manufacturers at the expense of the consumers, the great body of 
the people ; but to the discretion of Congress, as to every other legisla 
ture, much must be trusted; they may abuse the trust; so will others; 
the only security we can have is the responsibility of the representa 
tive to his constituents, and a common interest between them. Are we 
to enlist in a crusade against the people of the United States for per 
mitting their representatives to conform to their wishes?- or are we to 
submit to such laws as are common to all and affecting all in like de 
gree? I am disposed to leave Carolina where she is, the equal, not the 
superior of other States. When she shall be oppressed, when unequal 
burthens are imposed upon her, then, and not till then, let her be forced 
from the Union. It cannot be for the honor of South Carolina to claim 
for her more than an equal share in the government; and if she some 
times suffers in common with the people of the other States, we must 
submit, or resort to the right of revolution ; one or the other is de 
manded by the honor of Carolina. 

Honor of Carolina! who now ministers at thy altar! Who is it that 
points to Carter s Mountain, w T hen to Mount Vernon we ought to go? If 
this must be, then have the days of her chivalry gone by ; then are we 
recreant to the glory of our fathers. 

Judge Lee being called upon by the meeting to address them, obeyed 
the call, unexpected as it was. He begs us to say that the call being 
made at a late hour, he submitted some desultory observations, which 
he thinks it quite unnecessary to publish. In all that he may have said 
he considers himself as completely forestalled by the able and eloquent 
orator of the day, and by many of his distinguished friends who pre 
ceded him in their addresses to the meeting at the dinner. What they 
said was, he thinks, so much better said by them than by himself, that 
he declines the publication of his speech. 

SPEECH OF COL. B. F. HUNT. 

Col. B. F. Hunt having been called on, without premeditation, said: 
Fellow- Citizens, -I feel this to be the proudest day of my life. The 
friends of Union and State Rights have on this day, unawed by the de 
nunciations of political adversaries, and with feelings high above the 
distractions of party discord, assembled to lay upon the altars of liberty 
the pure sacrifice of unfeigned thankfulness for those national blessings 
which the valor and devotedness of our fathers have secured by their 
toils and hallowed by their blood I have on this day seen the men of 
Charleston the republican citizens of Carolina without distinction of 
birthplace, or the adventitious differences of rank or fortune, assem 
bled together as a band of brothers, and bowing before that only throne, 
to which a freeman pays his homage, devoutly thanking God that we 



68 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

still continue a free, united and prosperous people. In all this vast as 
sembly I see none, no, not one, who has ever "bent his knee before 
created man " not one whose blood would leave his manly cheek amid 
the embattled hosts of his country s foes. Yet the foul brand of " sub 
mission " has been attempted to be impressed upon such men. Does this 
assembly, these banners, our proud aspiration, savor of submission? 
Let not our adversaries calculate upon our submission. We know and 
appreciate the distinction between that obedience which is due to the 
government of our choice and what would ensue if the foundations of 
that government were undermined and all the securities of regulated 
liberty crushed under its ruins. All the licentious passions of the hu 
man breas.t, unrestrained and kindled to very madness by deluded lead 
ers, would leave to our people no alternative but to submit our lives, our 
homes, our altars, and our little ones, to the tender mercies of a heart 
less, irresponsible mob. We are resolved to submit to no tyrant, 
whether he be a crowned emperor or a lawless demagogue. We now 
feel all that security for our rights which an established government 
affords, and contrasted with any other people on earth, we know that 
the career of our beloved country has been one of unexampled prosper 
ity and we know, too, that we owe all to that proud submission to the 
laws and Constitution of the Republic, without which every free gov 
ernment is powerless and inadequate to its ends. 

We know that our federal government, like every human govern 
ment, is liable to be badly administered ; and when its evils overbalance 
its benefits, we are prepared to encounter all the vicissitudes of revolu 
tion still to be free. Experience, however, teaches us to beware how 
we hastily throw off a government which has been fruitful of so many 
blessings, to listen warily to those who .would excite our jealousy 
against a friend that has stuck to us closer than a brother in the hour of 
our utmost need. The Constitution of the United States is wholly un 
like treaties between independent sovereign nations. It is a frame of 
government, and it acts not on the sovereign bodies of the States, but 
upon the people of the United States. A. treaty or compact between 
sovereign nations may be abrogated, and it still leaves each with its 
form of government entire its executive, its naval, military and diplo 
matic establishments in perfect organization, according to the ancient 
constitutions of the respective countries, and recognized in the list of 
nations. Not so the United States of America. Their ancient general 
government was the monarchy of Britain, and once loose the bonds of 
the Constitution, and twenty-four new nations must be organized. All 
history warns us of the blood and misery which it would cost. And for 
what causes are we urged to the fearful experiment certain abstract 
theories insisted upon by enthusiastic speculators, whose title to implicit 
confidence rests upon the facility with which they can " change sides and 
argue still." 



UNION PARTY CELEBRA TE. G9 

"We do not believe that the duties are paid by any but the consumer 
of the articles on which they are imposed. We know that if incidentally 
high duties are injurious to free trade, and we admit the fact, they have 
been adopted upon the very principle of latitudinary construction, 
which owe their success to those politicians who now so strenuously 
inveigh against them. We know that the tariff lias not effected any one 
quarter of the Union exclusively, and that it was forced upon those who 
are now calumniated for its existence. Yet we will never cease, light 
as its evils are compared with the distractions and miseries of a revolu 
tion, to struggle to bring back our national legislation to the safe, sim 
ple and democratic rules of the old republican school. We trust to the 
virtue of that people which has hitherto been found capable of appre 
ciating the value of our Union, without our aid of translantic arith 
metic, and we shall not misplace our confidence ; we will trust our whole 
country. 

The enjoyments, the recollections and the hopes which this day brings 
with it we owe to the united sacrifices and the combined valor of the 
patriots of the Revolution from every section of our extended Republic. 
On this day we bear on our banners the emblems and the names of all 
that was profound in council, great and heroic in the field, in " those 
days which tried men s souls." Nor are the achievements of the second 
war of Independence forgotten. We see the oak of New England, the 
palmetto of Carolina, and the hickory of New Orleans, interwoven in 
that bright wreath which binds together the North, the South, and the 
West ; long, long may they flourish in unfading verdure, affording to the 
aged patriot the cheering emblems of the great results of all his toils 
and sacrifices, and impressing on our generous youth the deep sense of 
gratitude which they owe to those sires who, under God, have secured 
for them such a rich inheritance. 

Fellow-citizens, long may the services, the feelings and the resolves 
which we have this day performed, and experienced, and made, be pre 
served in our memories. They will enlighten our understandings justly 
to value and strengthen our hearts firmly to support the laws and the 
Constitution, and hand down, unimpaired, to our children, the inestima 
ble blessings of regulated liberty. 

Being called on for a sentiment, he gave 

"Fort Moultrie, the glorious compeer of Bunker Hill: The uncon- 
certed and almost simultaneous offerings of the North and the South in 
the great cause of National Independence." 

SPEECH OF E. YEADOX, Jr.., ESQ. 

R. Yeadon, Jr., Esq., having been called on to address the meeting, 
said: 

That he had observed, with regret, strong indications that we were 
about to split on the very rock against which the immortal Washington, 
in his parting admonition, had prophetically warned us. That geo- 



70 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

graphical distinctions were now the watchwords of parties, distracting 
our once pe aceful country and causing our Union to totter on its base 
That the South seemed now prepared to put on its armor against the 
North, and the East might soon be ready to hurl its thunderbolts against 
the West. That feelings so dangerous to the harmony of our Union and 
the durability of our institutions were to be seriously deprecated, and 
a more generous and enlarged patriotism ought to animate the bosom 
of every American. He said that he had observed, with equal pain? 
that it had become the familiar custom of,those who arrogated to them 
selves, exclusively, the principles and feelings of Carolinians, to heap 
opprobrium upon the name of Yankee, and that our youth were even 
taught to lisp it with execrations; that it was strange, indeed, that 
while in Europe the name of Yankee is identified with everything great 
in action and sublime in liberty, here it should be the subject of con 
tumely and reproach. That the people of the South should remember 
that those who unfurled the virgin flag of liberty, and fought her first 
battles at Lexington and Bunker Hill were the inheritors of a common 
glory with those who achieved her victories at the Cowpens and the 
Eutaw. He added, that in language partly borrowed from the beauti 
ful anthem composed by a minister of the gospel for this day s celebra 
tion of the holy festival of the Union, those who inhabit the " fair plains " 
of the South those who dwell in the " central mountain " region those 
who people New England s rock-girt strand, and those who roam " the 
prairied west " are all one people and let them come from what 
quarter of the Union they may, when once they touch the sacred and 
hospitable soil of South Carolina they should be hailed and welcomed 
as brothers. He concluded by saying that as appropriate to these 
remarks and to the occasion which had brought so great and patriotic a 
concourse together, he would offer the following sentiment: 

"Our Country Our Whole Country: Not circumscribed within the 
narrow confines of a single State, but co-extensive with the broad ex 
panse of our glorious confederacy." 

A call having been made for the editor of the Gazette, W. Gilmore 
Simms, Esq., rose, and after observing to the assembly that enough of 
prose having been already spoken, he should take leave, with the aid of 
the muse of patriotism, to offer them some little verse. He delivered 
the National Ode which follows : 

OUR UNION A NATIONAL ODE. 

I. 

" Breathes there a man with soul so dead, 
Who never to himself hath said, 

This is my own, my native land" [SCOTT. 
Who, gazing on each valley round, 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 71 

Exults not in that daring band, 
Which made it consecrated ground ! 
Who, drinking in the generous air 
That feeds the freeborn spirit here, 
Climbing the mighty rocks that gird 

The rich profusion of our soil, 
Fruits, flowers, that spring but a word; 

Delights not in that hardy toil, 
Which, in defiance, stern and dread 

Of wanton steel and felon tree, 
Unfearing fought and bravely bled 

To break its chains and make it free ! 

II. 

Beneath whose heaven-directed stroke, 
Pour d forth in streams the fetter d rock, 
While gathering nations came to bless, 

As freely of its waves they drank, 
The waters of the wilderness ! 
Though many a spirit died to gain 
That land of promise seen afar 

And, worn with fell fatigue that sank 
Unburied on the desert plain, 
Still God and nature press d the war, 
And where they perished in their place, 

With treble strength, and spirit turn d 

To the same state, for which they burn d, 
And died sprung up a mightier race; 
With eyes, whose wide, unblenching glance, 

Far, from the moral Pisgah, saw 
The land in whose deliverance 

They drew the sword and brought the law. 

III. 

Not in the vain pursuit of power, 
The conquest of some fleeting hour, 

They marshalPd forth in might 
No idle foray for revenge, 
No lust of rule, no love of change 

Impell d them to the fight. 
They came as comes the ocean wave, 
When gather d navies find a grave, 
And fiercely-mounting billows rave. 

While humbled man grows dumb ; 



72 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

They sought the fight as in the skies, 
The lightnings flash, the tempests rise, 

And rolls heaven s thunder drum. 
Not theirs, the panoplied array, 
The skill of Europe s better day 

With sling and stone they stood ; 
And well heaven s blessing prosper d those 
That hour who fought against Nature s foes, 
And cheered their hearts, and nerved their blows, 

While Lexington run blood. 

IV. 

There Freedom drew her battle blade ; 
There blazed her living beams, which made 

Amidst the darkness gathering round, 
Her stars, resplendent, shine through all 

In glory o er that battle ground. 
Whilst chafing at his fearful fall, 
Robed in his dark funeral pall, 

The tyrant howl d in shame; 
A thousand lights are kindling fast, 
And, at the wildest of the blast, 
The crescent orb, that deign d to smile, 

Gave light unto the deadly aim 

That hurl d its fierce and fatal flame 
In triumph from our Moultrie s Isle ! 
Nor there alone our country yields 

A thousand well-contested fields, 

Where Freedom, in her mood, 
From Cowpens to the Hanging Rock, 
At every nameless acre took 

Large toll of traitor blood. 
Still, in her youth protracted long 
The war, against repeated wrong ; 

Each spot of land in time became 
A theme for Freedom s choral song : 

A monument of Britain s shame. 

V. 

Whence came that band, the brave, select, 
The shores of Freedom to protect, 
Or clothe her streams in blood? 
What prurient soil of olden time, 
Whose deeds are chronicled in crime, 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 73 

Pour d forth the generous flood ? 
Meet for that virgin land, they came 
Obedient to her matron claim, 

When Liberty awoke ; 
When, sickening at old Europe s guilt, 
The chains she wore, the blood she spilt, 
She bared her faulchion to the hilt, 

And dared the deadly stroke. 
Her signal banner waved in air, 
And, from all climes, the brave repair, 

Rich in the heritage of thought ; 
Far, in our western forests deep, 
Their shrines to build, their faith to keep ; 

And, as their fathers taught 
Free as their native winds to own 
No foreign potentate or throne 
To scorn among all other things 
That fain would clip the spirit s wings, 

That dogma of the slave : 
Who, in the " right divine of Kings," 

Digs his own villein grave ! 

VI. 

No isolated spot sent forth, 
That argosie of human worth, 

That, to thy well-found land, 
Old Genoese ! the treasure brought, 
Of noble soul and giant thought, 

And firm, unyielding brand. 
Spirits, with freedom s self impress d, 
And, by her pray r and presence, bless d, 
Could neither be enslaved nor bought 
Whom no example could mislead 
To wrongful lust, or shameful deed ; 
No rank enticement win astray 
From truth and reason s better way; 
No Capuan luxury beguile, 

Though rough the path they else pursue, 
By license sweet, and harlot smile, 

From the all-glorious goal in view. 

VII. 

What boots it now, though lofty stands, 
Among earth s high and living lands, 



74 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

The country of our pride, 
To tell each tale of triumph o er; 
The fields we fought, the blows we bore, 

And how the gallant died! 
The world shall be their chronicle 
And myriads, yet unborn, shall tell 

How, in the western sky, 
Our banner of bright stars, became 
A cheering ray, a guiding flame, 

For Europe s chivalry ! 
The gallant Pole Heaven bless his cause I 
The victim of unequal laws, 

To do it honor, bled 
Our Southern bulwarks, still retain, 
The rich, and yet impurpled stain, 

The brave Pulaski shed 
Oh, let it not be shed in vain ! 
Then came the high-soul d brave of France, 
And Erin s generous sons advance, 

And England s cavalier 
And, in the choice of every land, 
Thus gather d in one sacred band, 
We see and honor God s own hand, 

And who shall then despair ! 
Though dark the night, our planets shine 
A DRAYTON leads th embattled line 

Our banner, bears HUGER 
And, cheering all our dauntless crew, 
Comes the frank-hearted PETIGRU, 

The talented LEGARE. 
Well may the tyrant, in his sway, 
Dread to behold* the approaching day, 
When, gem by gem, thus torn away, 

His coronet is bare 
When Valor breaks his sword in twain, 
When Genius flies his despot train, 
And casting off their spirit s chain, 

They seek for freedom here. 
A glorious hope for every clime, 
Unfolded in the march of time, 

When men their might shall know 
When Portugal and Spain, alike, 
Shall lift their thousand "hands, and strike, 

And freedom, have no foe ! 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 

VIII. 

Our conquest made let him, who looks 

This day upon its glories wide; 
To whom its vallies, cities, brooks, 

Are sources of an honest pride 
Who sees its waters stretch afar, 

Their swollen billows, where the West 
Peers forth, beneath a kindred star, 

With giant form and golden crest 
Who, glancing o er th extended whole, 
Surveys its mighty rivers roll, 

In vallies of the sun 
With spirit, large enough to scan, 
The triumphs of his fellow man, 

And own them, every one 
All glories of that rule, which makes, 

The nations near, the world around, 
Impatient, of each step it takes, 

And heedful of its every bound: 
Who sees our flag s extended folds, 

Sweep proudly in the easterner, 
Among the Pirate s crescent holds, 

A thing of more than mortal fear 
Nor, to such humble sway, confined, 

Who views it, out on ocean, spread, 
Stream, like a meteor to the wind, 

That freemen love and tyrants dread 
Let him, whose eye, not wholly blind, 
Survey these triumphs let him hear, 
The voice of myriads, far and near, 
Forever, in his listening ear, 

In honor of his land 
And longing for the approaching hour, 
When they, too, shall assert the pow r, 

And, for themselves for nature stand 
United, like ourselves awake, 
The race to run, the prize to take, 

Despite the tyrant s ban 
Let him who sees all this the fruit 
From our proud Union s glorious root 
The offspring of whatever state 
Let him come forth and calculate 

Its value if he can ! 



76 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

SPEECH OF THE HON. JOHN HARLESTON READ. 
Mr. Smith offered the following sentiment : 

" The Hon. John Harleston Read, the Senator from Prince George, 
Winyaw: He has borne the brunt of persecution, may he reap the 
reward of perseverance." 

Upon the delivery of which, Mr. Read rose and spoke in language 
nearly as follows : 

Fellow- Citizens, I should be wanting in candor did I not acknowledge 
my high sense of obligation for the friendly notice taken of me in the 
toast which has just been given. This unexpected attention meets me 
unprepared to respond to it in a manner that would be satisfactory, 
either to you or to myself. Yet I cannot but feel deeply sensible to the 
sympathies you offer me, under the trying circumstances to which allu 
sion has been made. It adds another consolation to that of being con 
scious that I have suffered in a just cause, and in the vindication of 
those principles which I am proud to profess. But, as these are matters 
which interest another district, I will not occupy your attention with 
them further than to assure you that I rely with confidence upon those 
good feelings which have always characterized the constituents whom I 
have the honor to represent, and which they are ready to evince in be 
half of those who have suffered in their service. 

The subjects which the present situation of our State, in relation to 
the general government, forcibly suggests to the consideration of every 
true lover of his country, have been so ably and amply dilated upon by 
those distinguished statesmen who have already addressed you this day 
as to leave me nothing further with which to engage your attention. 

I will, therefore, only say on the present occasion that while I am 
opposed to a law so partial in its operation (in this land of equal rights) 
as is the present tariff law for the protection of domestic manufactures 
while I cannot but regard such a law as conferring privileges upon the 
North, in which we of the South cannot, from the nature of things, par 
ticipate; while I regard that law as injuriously affecting our commerce, 
and consequently also our agricultural products, yet I cannot approve 
of the remedy prescribed by our political opponents. I cannot hold to 
the monstrous doctrine that any single State has the right under the 
Constitution to put her veto upon a law of the general government, 
passed under all the prescribed forms, and yet remain a member of the 
Federal Union ; that one of a confederacy of twenty-four States can by 
her sole voice check the action of the government, and stay its arm in 
the vital operation of collecting its revenues. This doctrine seems to 
me to lead to consequences which threaten anarchy and misrule; it 
puts the State in direct opposition to those constituted authorities 
which are sworn to enforce the laws, and sets at defiance the very powers 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 77 

which were appointed to settle differences. To such a doctrine it is im 
possible for me to assent; nay, I feel bound utterly to reprobate a 
scheme which, unless arrested by the intelligence and patriotism of the 
people of this State, will bring ruin upon our happy institutions; for I 
see in it the rising tempest which threatens to overthrow the altar con 
secrated to Liberty and Union by the immortal Washington himself. 

In conclusion, I offer you the following sentiment, which touches that 
subject which is nearest our hearts at the present time : 

" The American Constitution: The ark of our National Covenant; it 
will be preserved by the combined exertions of the Union and State 
Rights Party throughout the State from the profane influence of delu 
sion and of faction." 

SPEECH OF ABRAHAM MOISE, ESQ. 

Abraham Moise, Esq., having been called upon to address the meet 
ing, rose and said: 

Being requested, Mr. Chairman, unexpectedly andwithout notice, to 
address my fellow-citizens, I propose with your leave to offer a few brief 
remarks. 

Previous to this festival, one of the journals of the city anticipated 
great and alarming excitement from such an assemblage. It was said 
that the consequences might be dreadful to relate father would be set 
against son, and brother against brother, even unto blood; for such was 
the meaning of the dark forebodings, if any meaning could be attached 
to them. Thank God, sir, the period has arrived, and no such dreadful 
consequences have ensued. I see around me an overwhelming band of 
brothers, sacredly attached to the Union, and determined to maintain 
it at all hazards. The bone and sinew of the country constitute this 
great party. Sir, it is animating in the highest degree to witness the 
old and the young citizens from all parts of the community from all 
sects and denominations, assembling around the altars of their common 
country to preserve, by all virtuous means, the institutions of that 
country; and if ever there was a period when it was expedient and 
necessary that every good citizen should join in the performance of a duty 
so solemn and important, that period has arrived ; it is a duty conse 
crated by the love we bear our country, by the blood and treasure that 
country has cost us and our forefathers for more than half a century. 
In what bold relief stands all this to the condition of France, the distrac 
tions in England, and the waste of life and the pouring out of blood in 
Poland. If this be excitement, as an American citizen I glory in such 
excitement; as a native Carolinian I rejoice to behold it; it is a whole 
some excitement, it serves to purify our political atmosphere it is an ex 
citement worthy of those engaged in it, worthy of the great occasion, wor 
thy the effort to maintain regulated liberty, and put it beyond the reach 
of those who would innocently or wickedly impair the smallest part of it. 



78 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

Sir, this is no ordinary struggle it is a contest in which all we have 
to boast of is concerned, and indeed all that the world has to boast of: 
Our bright example to suffering humanity, our invaluable institutions; 
it may be our homes and our firesides. The value of our Union can 
only be known by the benefits it has conferred. It has furnished an 
asylum to all nations; to every inhabitant of the world, whether he be 
an Englishman, an Irishman, or a follower of Moses, the moment he 
sets his foot upon these shores, he is free as the freest, lofty as the lofti 
est; w r hen he lifts his voice and claims the title of American citizen, he 
is inferior in civil and political rights to no being on the habitable globe. 

And shall we yield up all these invaluable blessings upon a mere ex 
periment, for a doubtful evil? Are we quite sure that while we lay the 
axe at the root of one evil, we are not opening an avenue to greater 
evils. A new form of government may, perhaps, bring upon us oppres 
sions and errors in legislation far greater than those we suffer ; for if 
we are to draw our lessons from history, we shall not always find that 
the successful party are most competent for self-government, or that 
the conqueror is the most generous of enemies. 

But, sir, if I mistake not very much the temper of the times and the 
indignation of our citizens, the true cause of much of the excitement 
now pervading our city, may be traced to a matter differing very widely 
from this festival. Sir, much has been said of oppression, of imposition, 
of the abuse of power. Has not the Speaker of the House of Represen 
tatives refused to the people their writ of election? Have they not 
asked for it and been refused? Have they not demanded it, and has 
not their demand been treated with contempt and scorn? And shall 
the organs of the Mercury party complain of excitement, with this pal 
pable and unquestionable act of oppression, imposition and abuse of 
power fastened upon them? Sir, it cannot, it will not, be denied that 
many of our citizens, equally distinguished for private worth and public 
duty, will be deprived of the privilege of voting, by a scheme of party 
management and manceuvering. Can oppression be greater than this to 
those who value this great privilege, and whose only crime it has been, 
that they opened not their eyes south of the Potomac, or that a south 
ern sun burned not on their heads? Sir, I will dwell no longer on a 
subject so painful to those who love justice, and who, I persuade my 
self, would equally dispense it to all classes and condition ; nor will I 
offer any comment upon other topics already so ably and eloquently 
disposed of. Let the advocates of nullification only read and honestly 
digest the sentiments of Washington and all their visionary schemes 
must vanish like mists before the sun. 
Permit me to offer you a sentiment: 

"General Jackson and the Disunionists General Washington and 
the Whiskey Insurrection." 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 79 

* 

SPEECH OF MAJOR PAUL S. H. LEE. 

Maj. Paul S. H. Lee being called on for an expression of his senti 
ments, rose and observed : 

Gentlemen, I have been called on for an expression of my senti 
ments. I am unaccustomed to public speaking, and unprepared. But 
on an occasion like this, when we are assembled to celebrate the birth 
day of our country, and particularly to show our devoted attachment to 
the Union of these States, I will obey the call. 

I sincerely believe that the measures of the opposition party, how 
ever pure their motives, have a direct tendency to destroy the Union of 
these States. "\Ve were told about twelve months ago, by a leading 
member of that party, to " tremble not at disunion." However high and 
respectable the source from which this expression emanated, in my 
humble opinion there is not a word in our whole vocabulary that should 
make an American citizen tremble, if it is not that word disunion. 

" Tremble not at disunion ! " Shall we see that noble edifice which 
has been the pride of our country, and the admiration of the world, torn 
to the ground, crushing in its fall so many votaries at the shrine of lib 
erty, and we remain unmoved spectators? 

" Tremble not at disunion ! " Shall we see the torch of civil discord 
lighted, and our land fertilized with the blood of its citizens, shed by a 
son s, a father s or brother s hand, and our own not become palsied? 

"Tremble not at disunion!" Is there a curse under Heaven that 
could more effectually blight our happy land, destroy our fairest pros 
pects, and convert this blooming Eden into a howling wilderness, than 
the besom of destruction disunion. 

" Tremble not at disunion ! " The nations of the earth who are now 
struggling for freedom, would tremble, if that beautiful constellation 
which is lighting them to the blessings of civil religious liberty, were 
extinguished. 

" Tremble not at disunion ! " The Goddess of Liberty, who had left 
the glaciers of Switzerland, the last abode of freedom, and was return 
ing to her native skies, but beholding the struggles and devoted patriot 
ism of the heroes of our Revolution, descended on our happy land, would 
tremble at the disunion of these States, and wing her flight from the 
world forever. Gentlemen, our fathers, to achieve the glorious work of 
American Independence, pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their 
sacred honor. Shall we hesitate, in order to perpetuate the work of their 
hands, to give a pledge less solemn? No ! I, therefore, with the fullest 
confidence give you 

" The Union of the States : We will protect it with our lives, our for 
tunes, and our sacred honor." 



80 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

LETTER FROM GENERAL BLAIR. 

RED OAK CAMP, June 15, 1831. 
Samuel II. Dickson, J. Harleston Head, E. P. Starr, Committee of Invitation: 

GENTLEMEN, I thank you for the polite invitation to dine with you and. 
your fellow-citizens of the Union and State Eights Party, in Charleston, 
on the approaching Fourth of July, and regret that the delicate and 
precarious health of my family, the hazard of so long a ride through 
the low country at this time of year, and a variety of other circum 
stances, will prevent my attendance. However, if my presence were of 
any importance, my absence will be compensated, no doubt, by a brief 
disclosure of my political views. 

You obligingly express a belief " that a community of sentiment in 
relation to the great political questions which now agitate our beloved 
State and a common feeling of devoted attachment to our country unite 
us closely together." Of this you can judge more correctly when I pre 
sent you a synopsis of my opinions in relation to the topics which now 
agitate the public mind. 

I view a protecting tariff as not only unconstitutional, but highly 
injurious to our best interests. Indeed, I am willing to regard it in as 
bad a light as the most violent nulliiier can place it ; yet it is not a whit 
worse than the national system of internal improvement. If it is possi 
ble for me to dislike one branch of the American system more than the 
other, I bear a greater hatred to the internal improvement than I do to 
the tariff, but I regard the two as one. Indeed, a distinguished indi 
vidual of our State, who claimed to be " the father of internal*improve- 
ment," not many years ago coupled it with the tariff and advocated both 
with the utmost zeal as the " true policy of the country ! " To prove the 
alliance between the tariff and internal improvement would be super 
fluous. They are as inseparably connected as the Siamese twins. I am, 
therefore, surprised that while some of our ablest orators are pouring 
out such vollies of invective upon the tariff they have not one word to 
say about internal improvement; while they darken our vision by the 
flight of their arrows against the former, they throw not a single shaft 
at the latter. They would move heaven and earth and hazard the integ 
rity of the Union to suppress the tariff, while they seem to regard inter 
nal improvement as a harmless thing ! Every one must draw his own 
inference; but it seems to me if I was not deeply committed in favor of 
the one I could not confine my raillery exclusively to the other branch 
of the American system. 

To this system, I take it for granted, we are all opposed, and that our 
most anxious inquiry is, How and when shall we resist it ? Is nullifica 
tion the proper remedy ? It seems to me a. political axiom, that whilst 
South Carolina remains a member of the federal family she must refer 



, UNION PARTY CELEBEA TE. 81 

every controversy between herself and the general government to the 
adjudication of the supreme federal court. When she objects to the 
intervention of that tribunal, provided by the federal compact, decides 
the question for herself; declares this or that law of Congress inopera 
tive within her limits, and endeavors to carry her views into operation, 
it is virtually a resumption of all her former sovereignty, and she is 
"ipso facto" out of the Union at least she may be so considered and so 
treated by the federal government. But if South Carolina should under 
take to arrest the operations of a law of Congress, without a formal act 
of secession, the general government has the option of another process, 
and one that would most probably be resorted to. It would have the 
right to say to South Carolina, " You seem to have forgotten that our 
government was founded in the spirit of compromise and concession. 
You must remember that every law cannot be made to suit your particu 
lar interest, and you must bear in mind that while you remain under 
my protection and avail yourself of the benefit of such laws as you deem 
advantageous and constitutional, you must submit to those that are 
inconvenient, and which you may even think unconstitutional, or refer 
the disputed law to the decision of the constituted tribunal. Should 
that tribunal decide against you, and you refuse to acquiesce, I must 
use all the power vested in me by the Constitution to enforce obedi 
ence." And it does appear to me that, under such circumstances, the 
President of the United States would be bound by his oath and by every 
consideration of official duty to carry the law into full operation, be the 
consequences what they may. 

While, therefore, South Carolina remains in the Union, I can imagine 
no mode of procedure by which she can defeat the tariff laws without 
bringing her militia in conflict with the troops of the general govern 
ment. But suppose we could, by any civil process, enable our merchants 
to elude the payment of the duties, what measure would then be 
resorted to by the general government ? It would either require the 
duties to be promptly paid in cash and establish a sufficient military 
force in our seaports to ensure their collections, or our harbors would 
be blockaded by a detachment from the federal navy, prohibiting 
entirely the import of foreign goods or the export of our produce. What 
then would be our remedy ? Either unconditional and disgraceful sub 
mission or a foreign alliance. And I doubt whether Great Britain or 
any other European nation would think the commerce and friendship 
of South Carolina of sufficient importance, under such circumstances, to 
induce them to encounter the hazard and expense of such relations. 

Thus I have tested the doctrine of nullification by what I think would 
be some of its natural and unavoidable operations, and I am bound, 
therefore, to reject it as impracticable and dangerous, and must discard 
it as an absurdity. 
6 



82 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

But those of us who object to nullification are asked by the nullifies 
with an air of triumph, " What remedy do you propose ? " 

Were I an absolute federalist of the National Republican School, 
ready to " sacrifice the substance to the shadow," to permit the vital 
interests of my country to be destroyed under the forms of the Consti 
tution, while the spirit of that instrument was disregarded, I might 
deem it a sufficient answer to refer to the provisions of the federal com 
pact, and in ordinary cases this would be the correct reply, but in a case 
like the present, supposed to involve an ultimate extremity similar to 
that of life and death, I would be guilty of no such mockery. I should 
say that when the public debt is paid, and all pretext for a high tariff 
thereby destroyed ; should the American system still be adhered to with 
stubbornness ; should the tariff still be regarded as absolutely intoler 
able and all hopes of relief from Congress be entirly annihilated, we 
should then redress our wrongs in our own way. How would that be ? 
Let all the anti-tariff States, or at least the Atlantic portion of them 
south of the Potomac, make common cause ; as they have a common 
interest, they should be actuated by the same political impulse and 
feeling. Let, therefore, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, 
Mississippi, Alabama, and as many of the adjacent States as choose to 
join us, assemble in convention, if you please, and, acting in concert, 
present to the federal government the alternative of receding from 
its unjust and oppressive legislation or submission to our separation 
from the confederacy. I am fully aware of the hazard of such a pro 
ceeding. Should Congress adhere to its iniquitous policy, and we are 
driven to the necessity of pursuing the last and worse branch of the 
alternative, it is easy to imagine many dangers, difficulties, and expenses 
we should have to encounter. In such event I can readily conceive the 
necessity we should be under of keeping up a large navy to protect our 
commerce, a formidable chain of military posts to protect our inland 
frontier, together with a powerful standing army to repel invasion and 
suppress insurrection. It is also obvious our^ liberty would be endan 
gered by such powerful armaments, nor can I hide from my mental 
vision the certainty that even in this little Republic a rivalry of interest 
and a struggle fcr political predominance would soon arise that would 
shake our newly-formed government to its centre. I say, therefore, the 
experiment will be dangerous, and it is only to be resorted to in the last 
extremity. Yet, I would resort to it rather than we should become the 
mere stewards and overseers of Northern monopolists and manufac 
turers, and entail slavery upon our posterity. But for South Carolina, 
divided within herself, to attempt such an enterprise, not only without 
the aid or co-operation of any of her adjoining sister States, but under 
the rebukes of all, would be madness and folly in the extreme. It 
would, indeed, be a species of political insanity that could only be ex- 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 83 

ceeded by the absurd idea of a single State arresting the laws and ope 
rations of the general government with impunity, and still remaining a 
member of the federal family. 

But, after all, may we not ask who were the authors of this infamous 
American system ? and who they are that have mounted " the rider on 
the pale horse ?" that bringeth in his train all the ills of prophecy. 

I am unwilling to wound the feelings of individuals by a minute 
enquiry as to who are most culpable, or were the most efficient advo 
cates and zealous agents in fixing this ruinous policy upon us. Fortu 
nately, no such enquiry is necessary. It is universally known, and tis 
as strange as true, that the leaders of that party called the nullifiers 
of that party who have stolen from us the appellation of " State Rights," 
and have modestly arrogated to themselves all the courage and patriot 
ism of the South yes, the very men who now wish South Carolina, 
single-handed and alone, to run a premature, dangerous, desperate tilt 
with the federal government on account of its oppressive legislation, 
are the self-same men who have done more than any others to bring 
those evils upon us. They have introduced the robbers into the house ; 
and, because we object to the instant burning of the building, we are 
charged with all the plunder committed Satan like, they would first 
seduce and then mock us; they involve us in a ruinous and dangerous 
dilemma, then point out what they call a mode of escape, but which we 
consider certain destruction ; and when we refuse to pursue their mad 
and hopeless scheme, they denounce us as fools, cowards, and traitors. 
Great God, how much longer are the people to be thus gulled and de 
luded ! 

But perhaps you are desirous of knowing whether I have any hope 
the alternative to which I have alluded will not be forced upon us. I 
have no hesitation in saying, even at the hazard of a sneer, I do enter 
tain such a hope. 

It seemed to be conceded on all sides that the duty on sugar, as well 
as several other items of the tariff, would have been reduced or repealed 
if there had been time at the last session to obtain the final action of 
Congress on those propositions. But the session being limited to the 
4th of March, and much of its scanty time unavoidably taken up by the 
trial of Judge Peck, no proposition of that kind could be definitely acted 
upon. Beside we still had in Congress the same old materials that con 
stituted it the twelve months before ; and, therefore, not much was to 
be expected from them more than had been done at the preceding ses 
sion. In the next Congress I trust the case will be somewhat different; 
several changes have already been made for the better in the represen 
tation of some of the States, as you are no doubt aware. In addition to 
this, it is the opinion of older and more experienced members than my- 
seirthat " the monster" is staggering with its deformity, and tottering 



84 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

under the weight of its own iniquity. They speak of the downfall of 
the system with absolute certainty, and say that its final overthrow 
cannot be postponed much, if any, beyond the payment of the public 
debt. The friends of the system themselves look to the extinction of 
the national debt as the grand crisis of their favorite policy they look 
to it " with fear and trembling"; and with a view to keep off their evil 
day as long as possible, they vote for every appropriation of the public 
money, no matter how large, regardless of the object, or from whence 
the application. 

I have thus briefly presented you some of the reasons on which my 
expectations of a change for the better is founded. I have done it 
frankly, and have addressed you throughout in a spirit of candor, not 
only because I regard equivocation on these subjects unwarrantable, if 
not criminal, but because I consider you my political friends. I would 
not thus descant upo-n these topics were you an assembly of nullifiers ; 
were I to hold out hopes and favorable expectations concerning the 
tariff, to that class of politicians, and my predictions (as they would 
call them) should not be promptly and literally fulfilled by Congress, 
the nullifying gentry w^ould be disposed to " nullify" me for the disap 
pointment. They would be ready to visit upon me all the penalties due 
to the original sins of their own favorite politicians. Therefore, al 
though I neither make nor regard threats, I do not wish to be understood 
as promising or predicting what the future operations of Congress may 
be upon the tariff. The State which I in part represent is composed of 
reading and intelligent freemen, as capable of judging for themselves 
as I am; and I wish all my fellow-citizens, and especially the nullifiers, 
to make their own calculations of " the prospect before us." 

About President Jackson, and the prospect of his re-election, I have 
but little to say; I consider that event to be as certain as it is indis 
pensable to the welfare of our common country. Some blame him for 
doing too little to overthrow the American system, others blame him 
for doing too much in that way; perhaps the best evidence of his hon 
esty and patriotism is that he is a little blamed by all parties. All 
know, whatever they may say to the contrary, that Gen. Jackson will 
do what he believes to be right and no man is blessed with a more 
infallible judgment or a more fearless spirit. The great body of the 
American people know this, and they know, besides, that no other man, 
under existing circumstances, could hold this confederacy together five 
years longer. They are aware that the crisis demands the re-election 
of Andrew Jackson as President of the United States and they will 
be "faithful to themselves and to him." Let no one suppose me desi 
rous of flattering General Jackson character and disposition apart, I 
have no motive for such sycophancy. To say nothing of my want of 
qualifications, I do not wish, nor am I in a situation to accept, any office 
in the gift of the President, neither would I beg office at his hands for 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 85 

my best friend. I wish, indeed, the Constitution prohibited every mem 
ber of Congress from taking any appointment under the federal govern 
ment. It is a slander on the American people to say that competent 
men cannot always be found, except among their representatives. A 
representative of the people should have no motive to court the smiles 
or dread the frowns of any but his constituents. 

Pardon me for troubling you with such a long letter, and allow me 
to conclude by proposing to your meeting the following sentiment: 

" General Jackson and the People of Carolina : They cannot be di 
vided while he continues honest and they remain free." 
Very respectfully, your obedient humble servant, 

JAMES BLAIR. 

After reading the above, the following toast was offered : 

"By Colonel Steedman. General James Blair: A man of the peo 
ple a firm and consistent advocate of their rights and interests ; he has 
this day portrayed the true connection between the Union and his na 
tive State." 

LETTER FROM THE HON. R. J. MANNING, LATE GOVERNOR OF THIS STATE. 

FULTON POSTOFFICE, June 30. 
Samuel H. Dickson, /. Harleston Read, E. P. Starr, Committee of Invitation: 

GENTLEMEN, You have kindly invited me in the name of the Union 
and State Rights Party, to partake of a public dinner, and to join in the 
celebration of American Independence, in the city of Charleston, on the 
approaching Fourth of July. Accept my thanks for the respectful re 
membrance of me on the occasion, and be pleased to convey them to 
those whose organ you are, with my regret that the season of the year, 
and the sufferings of a sick family forbid me to attend. 

In the conflicts and war of opinions which have unhappily divided 
our beloved State, the character of my own opinions, has placed me in 
the ranks of the Union and State Rights Party. In taking this position 
with a party, I find myself, in opinions, at variance with the dearest and 
best friends of my youth and manhood. The political separation from 
these is decidedly among the most painful circumstances of my life. 
However much we may differ in public matters, nothing but unkind- 
ness shall ever cloud the recollection of my past life, or impair my ad 
miration for those good and talented men, from whom I am now politi 
cally separated. I rejoice that over the affections of the heart, neither 
parties, nor laws, nor constitutions, have any control. These are the 
free and blessed and eternal gifts of God to man. 

The doctrine that the majority shall govern, with all the evils that 
appertain to it, is better and safer (especially in an age of light and 
knowledge), as a fundamental principle of government, than the other, 
where the minority shall control and govern the majority. The ad- 



86 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

mirable operation of this is, that when the majority who govern are 
wrong, their errors will produce evils ; these, as soon as they begin to 
act extensively, will sink under the influence of an enlightened public 
opinion, and the irresistible power of the press will bring up the 
minority into the ranks of the majority, and thus evils will be corrected 
and the government again be restored in practice to a sound and healthy 
action. 

I am one who very much rely upon the power and final triumph of 
truth, and on the purifying influence of an enlightened public opinion 
and its dissemination by the press. By the operation of these on Euro 
pean countries, abuses which have been tolerated for ages will shortly 
be corrected, and liberal principles and regulated liberty will modify 
the frame works of all the governments in Christendom. 

It was a profound remark of Talleyrand when he said " that there is 
something which has more wisdom than even Bonaparte or Voltaire 
which is public opinion." On this we can rely for the final triumph of 
truth. 

The tariff must be modified in a short time. There are causes which 
will work out this result. The American system must go down, the evil 
be corrected, and the government be again placed on its sound and 
solid foundation. Tyranny cannot exist in this country, nor can it under 
the march of events and the power of existing causes much longer exist 
in the old world. The doctrine of nullification in the present under 
standing of it is destructive and ruinous. That one State, moved 
perhaps by faction, at the head of which may be placed even one 
designing and talented man, should have power to arrest the opera 
tion of the whole government of the Union, is paradoxical and ruinous. 
However well this might answer in ordinary times of peace, the govern 
ment could never sustain and hold itself together* at other and difficult 
times. An extensive government like our own, when it shall be shaken 
by foreign or internal convulsion, will fall to pieces under the operation 
of this doctrine. 

We hold with the doctrines of the United States Constitution. We 
hold that existing evils must either be corrected under that sacred 
instrument or according to the republican doctrines of Jefferson con 
tained in the Declaration of American Independence viz., " That when 
ever governments shall fail to answer the ends for which they were 
instituted among men it is the right and duty of the government to 
establish such other forms as seem most likely to secure their safety and 
happiness." 

I beg leave to offer the following: 

"The Doctrine of Nullification: Unsustained and unsustainable." 
I am, gentlemen, your obedient servant, 

RICHARD J. MANNING. 



UNTON PARTY CELEBRATE. 87 

LETTER PROM HON. CHANCELLOR DESAUSSURE. 

COLUMBIA, June 18, 1831. 
Samuel H. Dickson, J. Harleston Read, E. P. Starr, Committee of Invitation: 

GENTLEMEN, I had the honor of receiving your polite letter inviting 
me to dine with our fellow-citizens in Charleston of the Union and State 
Rights Party on the Fourth of July. 

You do me no more than justice in believing that I am greatly at 
tached to the Union of the States, as the solid foundation of the national 
greatness and prosperity ; as the sure guarantee of our internal tran- 
quility and of our external peace, as well as of the public liberty. These 
were the sentiments of Washington, the father of his country, who, in 
his farewell address, warns his fellow-citizens " that the unity of gov 
ernment which constitutes us one people, is a main pillar in the edifice 
of our real independence ; the support of our tranquility at home, our 
peace abroad, of our safety, of our prosperity, and of that very liberty 
we so highly prize." To which he adds : " That it is of infinite moment 
that we should properly estimate the immense value of our national 
Union to our collective and individual happiness; and that we should 
cherish a cordial, habitual and immovable attachment to it ; accus 
toming ourselves to think of it as of the palladium of our political safety 
and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; dis 
countenancing whatever may even suggest a suspicion that it can be in 
any event abandoned." These opinions and this solemn advice from 
him, who acted the greatest of all parts in the great drama of human af 
fairs, is entitled to the profoundest veneration from his fellow-citizens ; 
for his experience was great, his sagacity instinctive, and his patriotism 
unbounded. The history of all confederations proves the truth of his 
maxims and the wisdom of his advice. They have been always destroyed, 
and the country ruined for want of attention to these maxims. They 
have my entire concurrence; and I rejoice in the belief that this senti 
ment pervades the minds of a vast majority of the citizens in all parts 
of the United States. And the Union well deserves the affection of the 
citizens, for it has preserved our country in peace and prosperity during 
a longer period than is usual in the annals of the human race, at a time, 
too, when almost all the nations of the earth have been disturbed by in 
ternal commotions, or distressed by foreign wars. 

It is not, however, to be dissembled, that this inestimable Union is 
now put to a severe trial. A series of the acts of Congress, operating 
most injuriously on the interests of the South, for the protection of 
Northern manufacturers, have produced deep dissatisfaction in the minds 
of the citizens of a large section of the United States. The evil is so 
great, and the injustice is so gross, that the attachment of the South to 
the Union is gradually weakening, and ere long will be almost_oblite- 



88 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

rated, unless relief be obtained. Yet Congress does not seem to have 
discovered that the affections of the citizen is the best support of all 
governments. It has denied most pertinaciously the relief sought by 
the South. How long the pressure will be endured cannot be foreseen. 
Many ardent spirits, impatient of the wrong, are prepared for strong 
action to throw off the yoke. On the other hand, many of our citizens 
cannot yet give up the Union, so precious for the past time. They con 
tinue to hope, almost against hope; and in this state of mind, they are 
not prepared to act with their brethren. This difference of opinion, 
honestly felt and consciously expressed on both sides, has produced 
most unhappy effects. It has divided the citizens into violent parties, 
gradually producing bitter animosities. This is most deeply to be re 
gretted, not only as it disturbs the harmony of society, even in members 
of the same families, but as weakening our efforts to get rid of the op 
pression of which we complain. The ablest, wisest and best men of 
our country are as much divided in opinion, as to the right course of 
conduct, as those of inferior endowments. Would to God that they 
could be united in common counsels, and in a common plan, to obtain 
redress, without hazard to the Union. Could not all our citizens be in 
duced to unite together in one grand celebration of the ever-memorable 
Fourth of July ; and could not the leading men on both sides, who have 
the confidence of the country, meet in friendly counsel, and devise some 
plan which would obtain the support of the whole State? I most siri* 
cerely and anxiously wish this could be done. Without it, nothing can 
be done. 

My public duties will carry me into the upper country immediately, 
so that it will not be in my power to accept your polite invitation to 
the public dinner. Permit me, however, to offer you a toast for the oc 
casion : 

" The Union of the States : May it never be dissolved by unjust, op 
pressive and sectional legislation ; or by rash and violent measures of 
resistance to the laws of our country." 

I am, gentlemen, with great respect, your most obedient servant, 

HENRY WM. DESAUSSURE. 

LETTER FROM THE HON. JUDGE RICHARDSON. 

MANCHESTER, June 26, 1831. 

Samuel H. Dickson, J. Harleston Read, E, P. Starr, Committee of Invitation : 
GENTLEMEN, Your invitation to a dinner on the Fourth of July, to be 
provided by the Union and State Rights Party of Charleston, is received. 
The season of the year, and the distance of my residence, alone prevent 
me from attending a celebration so just, patriotic, and praiseworthy; 
and rendered, in my judgment, necessary at this time, from circum 
stances attending the political parties in Charleston. I beg your accept- 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE: 89 

ance of the following sentiment, which exhibits my conviction of the 
correctness of your political principles: 

" The State principles of Moses, that made Agriculture the basis of 
national stability ; and the policy of Solomon, that ingrafting Commerce 
on the stock of the farmer, left the Domestic Arts to their natural ali 
ment, found in free trade and tillage." 

With great respect, your obedient servant, 

J. S. RICHARDSON. 

LETTER FROM THOMAS WILLIAMS, JR., ESQ. 

YORK DISTRICT, June 18. 
Samuel H. Dickson, J. Harleston Read, JE. P. Starr, Committee of Invitation: 

GENTLEMEN, I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your 
favor of the 10th instant as a committee on the part and behalf of the 
Union and State Rights Party of your city, inviting me to dine with 
them on the Fourth of July next. 

I am bound to acknowledge it as one of the highest honors of my 
life to be identified with that party whose wisdom and patriotism have 
constantly induced the course best calculated to save our country in her 
times of greatest peril. Of late I have thought the evidence to estab 
lish one of the so much hooted "eight points" is not of that doubtful 
character which was once supposed, for language is now used, and in the 
most public manner, and by our most distinguished men, which at one 
time would haveabeen thought disgraceful and treasonable, but which 
is now held by gentlemen as not only correct and proper, but even 
praiseworthy. Yet I trust the Union and State Rights party, guided by 
such men as Drayton, Smith and Iluger, will, w T hile they always point 
to every encroachment on national and constitutional liberty, also point 
to the proper remedy without endangering the safety of the Union I 
regret extremely the particular season will not allow me to join with 
you in celebrating the day so sacred to our liberty. You have my 
earnest desire for the full and triumphant success of the doctrines main 
tained and insisted on by the Union and State Rights Party. Believing 
they are essential to our safety, for their zealous and steady defense 
our fellow-citizens will yet bless us. 

Respectfully, your obedient servant, 

THOS. WILLIAMS, JR. 

LETTER FROM ALEXANDER SPEER, ESQ. 

ABBEVILLE, June 27, 1831. 

Samuel II. Dickson, J. Harleston Read, E. P. Starr, Committee of Invitation: 
GENTLEMEN, I have this moment received your kind invitation to 
join the " Union and State Rights Party " of the city of Charleston in 
celebrating the returning anniversary of our country s independence. 



90 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

For this act of attention and kindness permit me to return my 
thanks, and at the same time to assure you, and through you the party 
with whom I am proud to act, that although distance and season will 
prevent my personal attendance, yet my heart and best wishes are with 
you. I rejoice that Charleston has not yet determined to " calculate the 
value of the Union," and that a goodly number of noble spirits are yet 
found who are unwilling to place our beloved State in a situation from 
which it will be "legal and constitutional treason" in her citizens to 
take sides with or support that federal government, to establish which 
cost our ancestors so much blood and treasure. 

Be assured, whatever you may hear to the contrary, that whenever 
the curtain is fully raised so as to make the question of union or dis 
union fully and fairly, the people of Abbeville will not be found want 
ing, and nullyism, with all its et ceteras, will fall to rise no more. In con 
clusion, gentlemen, permit me through you to offer a toast, which I 
flatter myself will meet with your entire approbation. 

" The Hon. William Drayton, who with more than Roman virtue, 
sacrificed the dearest ties of personal and family friendship for the good 
of his country." 

With the highest respect, I remain, gentlemen, your obedient and 
humble servant, 

ALEXANDER SPEER. 

LETTER FROM THE HON. JOHN L. WILSON. 

CHARLESTON^ July 2, 1831. 

Samuel II. Dickson, J. Harleston Read, E. P. Starr, Committee of Invitation: 
GENTLEMEN, I have received your kind and polite invitation to join 
the procession of the Union and State Eights Party, enclosing a ticket 
of admission to dine, for which polite attention permit me to return you 
my thanks. After a public service of more than twenty years I have 
determined to devote myself entirely to professional engagements and 
domestic retirement. With this resolution taken, I admit the principle 
that the Republic has a right to demand at all times the services of her 
citizens, and whenever such a crisis shall arrive, and I am called upon 
to act, I shall obey the summons with promptitude and zeal. Although 
for the last two years I have taken no part in the political excitement 
which now agitates and convulses my beloved State, I have not been in 
sensible to passing events. To me it is a source of deep regret to witness 
this unhappy division, which, at the same time it serves to weaken our 
just influence in the national councils, arrays in hostile ranks the same 
family, breaking asunder former political friendships and connections 
and poisoning the foundations of social and domestic happiness. Not 
withstanding the present array of contending parties, my confidence in 
the intelligence and virtue of the people remains undiminished; and, I 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 91 

confidently hope, by mutual forbearance and free and friendly discus 
sion, the prosperity and political happiness of our State may be the ulti 
mate result. 

The political sentiments I have heretofore with more than usual 
ardor advanced and supported I still cherish and maintain. In other 
situations they have been frankly and freely avowed, and the public are 
in possession of them. They are briefly these : 

The perpetuity of the Union in the spirit and terms of the national 
compact. 

The sovereignty of the States and the inviolable security of their 
reserved rights. 

If these cardinal points are observed with scrupulous integrity by the 
confederate and State authorities, I shall have no fears for the Repub 
lic, and we may all yet live to witness the prosperity and happiness of 
the people of these United States; the temple of liberty will be unde- 
filed by the demon of discord, and our beloved country, which has been 
emphatically styled the refuge of the oppressed, shall still continue to 
be the sacred sanctuary of all who seek the inestimable rights of man. 

The day you are about to celebrate is sacred to liberty. In your com 
memoration of the great events to which it gave birth I most heartily 
unite in feeling, and tender you the following sentiment as appropriate 
to the occasion : 

* The Patriotism that engendered, the Firmness that resolved, and 
the Wisdom that planned the Declaration of 1776: May the same Patri 
otism, Firmness and Wisdom forever animate, nerve and direct the peo 
ple of these United States." 

Be pleased to present my respectful consideration to the Union and 
State Eights Party, and at the same time receive for yourselves the 
assurances of the regard with which I am, gentlemen, your fellow-citi 
zen, etc. 

JOHN L. WILSON. 

LETTER FROM HON. HENRY MIDDLETON. 

CHARLESTON, June 10, 1831. 

Samuel II. Dickson J. Harleston Read, E. P. Starr, Committee of Invitation: 
GENTLEMEN, I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your 
polite invitation to dine with the Union and State Rights Party on the 
Fourth of July next. 

Few circumstances could be more gratifying to me than assisting at 
the celebration of that anniversary surrounded by my friends and fel 
low-citizens. But considerations relative to the health of my family 
(long estranged from our climate) force me to seek a more mild tem 
perature during the summer months, and our embarkation for the North, 
fjxed for the middle of this month, will necessarily prevent my accep 
tance of the invitation. 



92 LIFE AVT) TIMES OF C. 0. MEMMINGER. 

I, therefore, pray you, gentlemen, to convey to my fellow-citizens of 
the Union and State Eights Party the expression of my regret on this 
occasion, and to accept for yourselves my most friendly salutations and 
good wishes. 

HENRY MIDDLETON. 

LETTER FROM HON. JOHN B. O NEALL. 

SPRINGFIELD, June 28, 1831. 
Samuel II. Dickson, J. Harleston Read, E. P. Starr, Committee of Invitation: 

GENTLEMEN, I received on my return from Columbia your invitation 
to participate with the Union and State Rights Party in commemorating 
the Fourth of July in Charleston. 

I regret that it is out of my p*ower to unite with my friends in 
Charleston in doing honor to the day which, above all others, should be 
honored by every citizen of the United States. On that day I am com 
pelled, in the discharge of my official duties, to be at the extra court 
ordered then to commence its session at Newberry courthouse. 

You thought, truly, that my sentiments accorded with those of your 
party. I regard the Union of the States as essentially necessary to the 
preservation of the liberty and happiness of this, as well as all the other 
States. Anything which is calculated to destroy it, or weaken the 
attachments of our citizens to it, has, and I trust always will, meet with 
my decided disapprobation. 

.Permit me to give you a sentiment: 

" Our Country, our whole Country, and nothing but our Country." 

Accept, gentlemen, the assurances of the great respect and conside~ 
ration with which I subscribe myself, your obedient servant, 

JOHN B. O NEALL. 

LETTER FROM MR. STEPHEN THOMAS, A REVOLUTIONARY SOLDIER. 

CHARLESTON, June 17, 1831. 

Samuel II. Dickson, J. Ilarleston Read, E. P. Starr, Committee of Invitation: 
GENTLEMEN, I have to acknowledge the receipt of your kind commu 
nication of the 4th instant, informing me that you are instructed to in 
vite me to partake of the feast to be given by the Union and State 
Rights Party on the Fourth of July next. As I am entirely of the same 
opinion with my fellow-citizens who compose that very respectable party, 
I feel myself highly gratified to have the honor of associating with the 
real and true friends of our beloved country in celebrating that ever-to- 
bc-remembered national anniversary. I accept with great pleasure their 
very polite invitation, and shall attend (if a kind Providence please to 
spare my life and health) wherever they have appointed to meet. 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 93 

Be pleased to present to that honorable body my sincere thanks for 
their kind favor, and to you individually, gentlemen, permit me to offer 
my grateful sense for the very polite manner with which you have been 
pleased to communicate the invitation, 

I am, with real esteem and regard, very respectfully yours, 

STEPHEN THOMAS. 

FKOM MB. MORTON WAKING, A REVOLUTIONARY SOLDIER. 

CHARLESTON, June 10, 1831. 

Samuel H. Dickson, J. Harleston Read, E. P. Starr, Committee of Invitation: 
GENTLEMEN, It would indeed, gentlemen, be peculiarly gratifying to 
me to unite with so respectable a portion of my fellow-citizens in cele 
brating the anniversary of our country s independence ; but in obedience 
to the admonitions of age, I have long since withdrawn myself from the 
society of large and crowded assemblies. For this reason alone I most 
respectfully decline your very polite and nattering invitation for the 
approaching Fourth of July. In doing this, I cannot but avail myself of 
the opportunity which it affords of assuring you that I reciprocate most 
heartily with you and " the Union and State Rights Party " all the feel 
ings and sentiments which should animate Americans on every recur 
rence of their glorious anniversary. Permit me, gentlemen, to offer a 
sentiment, in which I hope all will accord. 

"The Principles and Spirit of 76: We will cherish and perpetuate 
them." 

With great respect, gentlemen, I remain your obedient servant, 

MORTON WARING. 

FROM MR. B. LANNEAU, A REVOLUTIONARY SOLDIER. 

CHARLESTON, June 25, 1831. 
Samuel II. Dickson, J. Harleston Read, E. P. Starr, Committee of Invitation: 

GENTLEMEN, Were it not for the infirmities of extreme old age, 
which now confine me to the precincts of my own habitation, it would 
give me unfeigned pleasure to accept, through you, the very polite invi 
tation of the Union and State Rights Party in the proposed celebration 
of the approaching anniversary of American Independence a day which 
you have proudly recalled to my recollection by alluding to the feeble 
services I may have rendered our common country in her glorious strug 
gle for independence and liberty. 

The remembrance of the eventful Fourth of July, 76, will not, can 
not, fail to awaken the warmest gratitude of a nation of enlightened 
freemen and although denied the privilege of uniting with you in per 
son on the return of that memorable day, I shall, nevertheless, be with 
you in spirit. 



94 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMHINGER. 

Permit me, however, gentlemen, in conclusion, to assure you of my 
honest attachment to the interests of the cause you are engaged to pro 
mote and to offer through you, on the approaching celebration, as the 
sentiment I feel, in the words of the motto you have adopted as desig 
nating your party 

" Union and State Right." 
With sentiments of respect, I remain your obedient servant, 

BAZILE LANNEAU. 

LETTER FROM THE HON. STARLING TUCKER. 

LAURENS COURTHOUSE, S. C., July 6, 1831. 

Samuel H. Dickson, J. Harleston Read, E. P. Starr, Committee of Invitation : 
GENTLEMEN, Your kind invitation of the 4th June last, I received at 
Laurens courthouse on the 4th instant. It would have afforded me 
much pleasure to comply with your kind invitation, but I never received 
your letter until the day you invited me to attend. In regard to the 
great political question, etc., I very much regret that there is so great 
a difference among us. I believe, however, if we act prudently and re- 
elect General Jackson President, and, I think, Judge Smith Vice-Presi 
dent, that our beloved country will yet be saved. I am for State Eights 
and the Federal Union. I am for General Jackson s re-election to the 
Presidency, and Judge Smith Vice-President. 

I am, gentlemen, in haste, your obedient, humble servant, 

STARLING TUCKER. 

LETTER FROM JOSEPH KOGER, JR. 

ST. GEORGES, July 6, 1831. 

Samuel II. Dickson, J. Harleston Read, E. P. Starr, Committee of Invitation: 
GENTLEMEN, Your invitation to dine with the Union and State 
Rights Party in Charleston, on the Fourth of July, has this moment 
come to hand. It would have afforded me much pleasure to celebrate 
the day with you had your invitation been received in time ; but as I 
have been, through unavoidable circumstances deprived of that pleas 
ure, permit me to offer the following sentiment, nunc pro tune: 

" The Union and State Rights Party of South Carolina : Nothing is 
lacking but unity of action. Let our motto be measures, not men. Let 
us take a pull, a strong pull, and a pull altogether, and with the bless 
ings of Providence the victory will be ours. 

I am, gentlemen, very respectfully, your friend and servant, 

Jos. KOGER, JR. 

VOLUNTEER TOASTS. 

By the Hon. William Drayton, the Orator of the Day. The Counsels 
of Washington : The observance of them their highest eulogy. 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 95 

By J. R. Pringle, President of the Day. South Carolina: Our affec 
tion to her is best evinced by our attachment to the Union. 

By Gen. Daniel E. Huger, reader of Washington s Farewell Address, 
and one of the Vice-Presidents. The States and People : The deposito 
ries of reserved power the only constitutional check upon federal leg 
islation. One of the States can no more apply this check than one of 
the people ; a majority of either may. 

By Col. Jacob Sass, a Revolutionary officer, and one of the Vice-Presi 
dents. The Union of these States: Devised by the wisdom of Franklin, 
cemented by the blood of patriots, and enjoined in the Farewell Address 
of our beloved Washington ; may the prayers of the few survivors of 
our Revolutionary struggle be heard, that God may forever preserve us 
a free and united people. 

By Thomas Corbett, one of the Vice-Presidents. The Union, Popular 
and Federal : We know its cost, perceive its wisdom, and feel its value. 
We will cherish it with patriotic devotion. 

By Judge Lee, one of the Vice-Presidents : The City of Charleston : 
True to the Union, she has always "frowned indignantly on the first 
dawnings of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from 
the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the va 
rious parts." 

By Dr. Philip G. Prioleau, one of the Vice-Presidents. The Farewell 
Address of Washington, the Father of his Country: May it be remem 
bered with reverence, and its precepts held sacred. 

By William Bell, one of the Vice-Presidents. My Country, my whole 
Country, and nothing but my Country. 

By R. Godard, one of the Vice-Presidents. To our political oppo 
nents we have neither enmity or ill-will ; we join and concur with them 
in reprobating the system that weighs upon us, and only differ as to the 
means of redress. 

By James L. Petigru, Esq., one of the Vice-Presidents. The Memory 
of Abraham Nott, an able and upright Judge : His mind was enlight 
ened by knowledge, and his judgment equally free from the disturbing 
influences of passion, or the blind admiration of theory. 

By the Hon. Thomas Bennett, one of the Vice-Presidents. Our Dele 
gates to the Anti-Tariff Convention to be held at Philadelphia: May 
their measures vindicate the motives of those who send them, appease 
the political strife that affects us, and secure the permanent interests of 
our beloved State. 

By the Hon. Thomas Lowndes, one of the Vice-Presidents. The 
Union : Its friends may differ as to the expediency of measures, but 
never as to its value or preservation. 

By James Marsh, one of the Vice-Presidents. May the excitement of 
political opinion in South Carolina be moderated to a healthful state by 
the zephyrs of Wisdom and Patience. 



96 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEXMINGER. 

By the Hon. Thomas S. Grimke, one of the Vice-Presidents. The 
Union : We will calculate its value when we have forgotten its founders. 

By the Hon. James Lowndes, one of the Vice-Presidents. The Union 
of the States : Nothing short of insufferable oppression actually felt, and 
not inferred from false or doubtful premises, should make a wise man 
wish for its dissolution. 

By M. King, Esq., one of the Vice-Presidents. Agriculture, Manu 
factures and Commerce: Equal protection to all; exclusive privileges 
to none. 

By Dr. James Moultrie, Jr., one of the Vice-Presidents. The Memory 
of General Washington : The man who was " among the first to discover 
the cause and point out the remedy" for the following evils: 

"From want of vigor in the Federal head, the United States were 
fast dwindling into separate sovereignties," etc. Ramsay s Life of Wash 
ington, p. 216. 

" Requisitions are actually little better than a jest and bye-word 
throughout the land. If you tell the Legislatures they have violated 
the treaty of peace, and invaded the prerogatives of the confederacy, 
they will laugh in your face." George Washington (Ramsay s Life, p. 219.) 

By George Edwards, Esq., one of the Vice-Presidents. The Federal 
Constitution : Conceived in wisdom, may it be preserved in its purity, 
and all its provisions executed with firmness true guarantees of Union 
and State Rights. 

By Dr. V. Le Seigneur, one of the Vice-Presidents. The Hon. "Win. 
Drayton, Orator of the Day: May the force of his arguments, backed by 
the splendor of his eloquence, gather under one banner the chivalric 
sons of the South. May internal dissensions never compel them to call 
upon others for that assistance which they once so generously extended 
to the unfortunate exiles of St. Domingo, and may that banner be 
forever unchanged and undimmed the brilliant stars and stripes which 
now so proudly float over our heads. Liberty and Union forever ! 

By Col. Simon Magwood, one of the Vice-Presidents. Our Country, 
the seat of Happiness : May we long continue to appreciate its blessings 
and keep at bay new doctrines that might bring on premature decrepi 
tude. 

By Col. Cross, one of the A r ice-Presidents. Agriculture, Commerce, 
Manufactures : Even-handed Justice to them all. 

By Col. B. F. Hunt, one of the Vice-Presidents: The enlightened 
patriot trembles with holy fear for his country at the ill-boding word 
disunion, for it implies an exchange of a government of the majority of 
the representatives of an enlightened and virtuous people, restrained 
by a written Constitution and their own responsibility, for revolutionary 
tribunals, which in every age and in every country have been " gov 
ernments practically without limitation of powers." 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 97 

The following letter from Nicholas Harleston, Esq., one of the Vice- 
Presidents, was read : 

Bossis. July 1, 1831. 
To the Committee of Arrangements: 

GENTLEMEN, I much fear that the indisposition of one of my sons, 
who is at this time in the country with me, and whose situation claims 
my immediate attention, will deprive me of the pleasure that I fully had 
in expectation of dining with the Union and State Rights Party to com 
memorate our National Independence, on a day that should have met 
all true Americans united as they were heretofore in support of the laws 
of their common country. 

You will, therefore, sir, have the goodness to excuse me before the 
Committee of Arrangements, and to say to them that although I shall 
be unavoidably absent, yet my heart will beat in perfect unison with 
those sentiments that the TJnion and State Rights Party have ever main 
tained in support of the honor and prosperity of our happy country as 
yet it stands. Should a toast be expected from me, which is sometimes 
the case, I beg the favor of you to offer those which I shall enclose, but 
by no means to push them forward, as undoubtedly there will be an 
over-sufficient number of superior merit. Wishing you all, on the great 
day of rejoicing, much pleasure, good humor and friendship, I remain, 
dear sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

NICHOLAS HARLESTON. 

By Nichplas Harleston, Esq., one of the Vice-Presidents : A perpetual 
confederation of these United States and a speedy downfall to all 
intriguing and ambitious demagogues who would insiduously or openly 
mislead the virtuous citizen from his contented and happy State. 

By Col. Cross, in behalf of the Committee of Arrangements. The Con 
stellation of the American Union : May its brilliancy never be dimin 
ished by the occultation of a single star. 

By the President of the Day. Our Respected Guests: Consuls from 
France, Portugal, Prussia, Sweden, Norway and Denmark, the Nether 
lands, Brazil, and the two Sicilies. 

Mr. Trapmann, Consul of Prussia, rose and said: 

" Mr. President, Gentlemen of the Union and State Rights Party, In 
the name of my respected brother Consuls, and for myself, I thankfully 
acknowledge the honor you have just conferred upon us, and beg leave 
in return to offer the following toast : 

" The Constitution and Government of the United States : May they 
continue undisturbed what they have now been for more than half a 
century the admiration of the world." 

By M. Hersant, the French Consul. The Union of the States : May 
that beautiful fabric, whose corner-stone was laid on the Fourth of July, 
4776, whose construction was afterwards cemented by American and 
7 



98 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

French blood, and completed on the 19th October, 1781, stand forever to 
serve as a beacon for the lovers of National Liberty. 

By Jacob R. Valk, Consul of the Netherlands. The Farewell Address 
of the great and good Gen. Washington : May its admonitions be cher 
ished with filial veneration by and engraven on the hearts of every 
American, as the rock of their political peace, happiness, and prosperity. 

By Jas. H. Ladson, Vice-Consul for Denmark. The United States of 
America the admiration of Foreigners: The Union of its parts and har 
mony of the whole are best appreciated at a distance. 

By Judge Jolfnson. The New Cabinet: It commands the confidence 
of the people; the old Republicans look to it with anxious expectation. 

By W. Hasell Gibbes, Esq., a soldier of the Revolution. The memory 
of Major Charles Shepheard and others of the Charleston militia who 
fell in the attack on Savannah ; also, of Lieut. Wilkins and others, who 
fell in the attack of the enemy on Beaufort Island. 

By Isaac Course, a citizen soldier of 76. The real Patriots of the 
present day: Emulating their illustrious sires of old in perpetuating 
the blessings bequeathed the American family, and nobly sustaining 
their existing government, founded on equal representation and Union. 

By Col. Steedman. The Memory of Thomas Jefferson, the Apostle of 
Liberty and of State Rights : Pie declared for the first, and steadfastly 
supported the last. 

By N. Harleston, Esq. The memory of the brave Count Pulaski: 
He died contending nobly and generously for our liberties; let us, then, 
do honor to his name by sympathizing with his gallant countrymen, at 
this time struggling for their own freedom. 

By Dr. F. Y. Porcher, of the Committee of Arrangements. The two 
great Political Parties in our State: Let the contest be conducted with 
open, manl^y, and honorable feelings; and the question decided by the 
prudence, intelligence, and good sense of the people. 

By Capt. Thos. H. Jervey. Charity to those who differ from us. 

By Col. William Lance. Disunion : The Forbidden Tree in the Eden 
of Liberty. " In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." 

By "VV. G. Sims. The State of our Union and the Union of our States : 
What God hath put together let no man put asunder. 

By Dennis Kane, of the Committee of Arrangements : The Union and 
State Rights party will yield to none in attachment to the Constitution, 
the rights of South Carolina, and in a firm and zealous opposition to the 
present mischievous, illegal and unjust tariff. 

By F. Isley, Jr. Freedom of Opinion : The greatest blessing we enjoy 
in this free, this happy republic without it in 1830 we should indeed 
have been submission men to the " Exclusives " of the South in 1831. 

By Richard Yeadon, Jr. Our Country, Our Whole Country: Not 
circumscribed within the narrow limits of a single State, but co-extern 
sive with the broad expanse of our glorious confederacy. 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 99 

By Bartholomew Carroll : Let Government cherish and protect the 
agricultural and mechanic arts. Would we be commercial ? Would we 
oe rich ? Would we be great and powerful? These are their true ele 
ments. 

By Moses Abrahams. South Carolina: A bright star in our land of 
Liberty: May she never forget that her sons are freemen, and may the 
Union be preserved, even at the expense by which it was obtained our 
lives and fortunes. 

By James Smith Colburn. The Union of the States: There will 
always be reason to distrust the patriotism of those who in any quarter 
may endeavor to weaken its bonds. 

By W. Wall, a soldier of the Revolution : Distracted be the brain and 
palsied be the hand that would separate the Union and destroy the Lib 
erty of this happy land. 

By Dr. Wagner, one of the Committee of Arrangements. The Poto 
mac : On its Yv^estern banks the ashes of our Vv r ashington, on its Eastern 
the monument to his glory. Who dare make its consecrated waters the 
division line of these United States ? 

By Arch d Brown : Free Trade, and such of its advocates as are for 
submission to -the laws of their country, though they may want faith as 
to their expediency. 

By Mr. J. X. Barillon, Deputy Secretary of State. The Union Party 
of Charleston and the People of the up-country : Alike bound by prin 
ciple and love of country ; any assertions of the nullifiers to the contrary 
notwithstanding. 

By Mr. Willington. Lafayette: The early, devoted, and efficient 
friend of American Liberty May his last days not be embittered by the 
nullification of that national glory for which he contended in the days 
of his youth. 

By J. AY. Sommers of St. Paul s Parish. The City of Charleston : The 
abode of intelligence, "patriotism, and valor though torn by party dis 
sension, still steadfast to the Union. 

By J. II. Head. The American Constitution : The ark of our national 
covenant it will be preserved by the Union and State Eights Party 
throughout our State from the profane touch of delusion and of faction. 

By Col. Thomas D. Condy. The Union of the States: Like Ccesar s 
bridge, the greater the pressure, the firmer it stands. 

By Dr. A. V. Toomer. The United States of America: Blest with the 
best form of government, they have set an example which is stripping 
royalty and aristocracy of their robes and revolutionizing the world. 
Let not Carolina throw an obstacle in the way. 

By Thomas W. Mordecai. William Drayton : The wise and fearless 
statesman ; the American patriot ! The cause he advocates is his coun 
try s; the temple he defends is the palladium of her liberty! Millions 
of freemen yet unborn will bless his name. 



100 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

By Capt. Alexander M Donald. The United States of America : The 
last refuge of the persecuted patriot May her Spangled Banner be 
handed down to future generations without one star obscured, one 
stripe erased. 

By Dr. De La Motta. The present state of the Union: A compound 
of opposite principles, cast in the crucible of political dissension should 
the fire of patriotism be insufficient to produce permanent amalgama 
tion, may a Congress of refiners devise such process as will ultimately 
succeed in an abundant supply and equal distribution of the pure metal. 

By Col. Eichard Yeadon. The Union : In the language of our orator, 
" He who could calmly contemplate its dissolution, must be either more 
or less than man." 

By Charles E. Rowand, Esq. Col. William Drayton: Integer vitx, 
scelcrisque purus. 

By N. Harleston Rutledge. The States of the Union : They are " the 
feathers " which " adorn " it, and power which " supports " it in its "flight" 
to glory; shame, shame, eternal shame to him, who would "strip it of 
its plumage," and thus hurl it into the gloomy sepulchres of empires 
that were. 

By Joshua Toomer. The 40 per cent, sophistry of a distinguished 
Politician : Too highly sublimated to impose long on Carolinians. 

By Dr. Horatio S. Waring. The sound Religious Virtue of Washing- 
tion : The true basis of government ; the guarantee of a nation s safety. 

By William Robinson, Esq. The Freedom of the Press : An enlight 
ened people, jealous of their liberties, will frown with indignation upon 
him who would r are to violate its sanctity, even under the influence of 
party excitement. 

By Col. William H. Wilson The Crisis " : " Dat Deus immiti cornua 
curta bovi." 

By Theodore Gaillard, one of the Marshals of the day. The true Re 
publican Party : Who evince their regard for State Rights by the love 
of the Union, and, relying upon the good sense and virtue of their fel 
low-citizens, combat error with reason. 

By James II. Smith, one of the Stewards. Nullification : That slough 
of despondency Who would not be glad to get out of it when he once 
has got in ? 

By William B. Pringle. The People of South Carolina : They repro 
bate alike the principle and the operation of the tariff; but in their op 
position to it, they will beware of the delusion of those politicians who 
would confound revolutionary with constitutional resistance. 

By B. F. Pepoon. The State of South Carolina : She is not repre 
sented by those who breathe the spirit of disunion. 

By John Phillips. The Palmetto: Unsullied honor and chivalrous 
courage made it South Carolina s laurel. It was regenerated into glory 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 101 

by the patriot s blood, not the serpent s slime. It was impregnable 
when o er it waved its country s standard, not from being intertwined 
with subtility and poison. 

By Randell Hunt, Esq., one of the Stewards. The Federal Union : 
The source of our national existence, of our prosperty, our strength, and 
our glory the best security for State independence and individual 
freedom. 

By H. Trescot. The twenty-four United States of America : Drawn 
together by a bond of Union and love too strong to be broken by the 
efforts of any demagogue, whether he assume the name of Brutus or of 
Phcecion. 

By James Haig. The Doctrine of Nullification : Learned lawyers and 
political agitators do well to seek its exposition and defence in musty 
records and rebellious precedents. Our common sense patriotism ac 
knowledges no such authority. 

By John L. Strohecker. The Hon. William Drayton : A stumbling 
block to the disunion party. 

By Edward J. Pringle. Our differences with the General Govern 
ment: May they end like the quarrels of lovers, in the renewal of love. 

By Major Clark. The Yankee : However grossly villified, whenever 
the sound sense and solid patriotism of South Carolina shall require his 
services, by the spirits of Greene and Lincoln, he will not be found 
wanting. 

By S. Chapman. The Youth of South Carolina : May they look to the 
welfare and glory of their common country, and not be led astray by 
deluded, ambitious, and disappointed politicians. 

By Tristam Tupper. Union, Liberty, and Peace: Are they worth 
preserving ? 

By J. B. Thompson, one of the Stewards. The Confederated Re 
publics of America: When the empires of European despotism shall 
have crumbled into dust, may they stand unshaken, the home and the 
refuge of liberty. 

By John W. Brisbane. South Carolina: May she always be all she 
ought to be. 

By R. Y. Livingston. A true citizen of the United States should have 
no other party prejudice than enmity to the foes of his country. 

By Mr. Morris. Our Sister State Virginia: The first to assert her 
rights, the last to submit to their infringement. "Where the ball of the 
Revolution received its first impulse, there also is felt that oppression 
which dictates to South Carolina to calculate the value of the Union." 
Virginia resisted then to establish liberty and Union, she suffers now 
that they may be preserved. 

By Col. Memminger. The Virginia Resolutions of 1798: The true 
exposition of the doctrines of State Rights; they have once prevailed 



102 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

over the advocates of implied powers they reject the proffered alli 
ance of nullification. 

By Jeremiah Murden. The Constitution : Our best bower cable. 

By Capt. Isaac S. Coffin. The Union and Independence of these 
United States : The legacy of our forefathers, the price of their blood. 
Esto perpetua. 

By F. G. Rolands. The Union Party of Charleston : A grand moral 
spectacle, presenting patriots of all parties laying aside their minor 
differences, to co-operate in the holy task of preserving that great work 
American Liberty. 

By E. S. Duryea, one of the Stewards. The United States of America: 
While united under our present form of government always happy ; once 
divided, no matter under what flag, worse than miserable. 

By .Paul Eooney. The Hon. William Drayton : The political doctor, 
who has dissected the monster called nullification, and saved the deluded 
and ignorant by administering the constitutional balsam of restoration, 
which brings them back to thsir allegiance. 

By Henry V. Toomer. The revolutionary Demons, Convention and 
Nullification : Turned out of Pandora s box to create civil war, with all 
its attendant horrors, may the voice of Carolina hurl them far into the 
ocean. 

By Samuel W. Doggctt. To the memory of Charles Cotesworth 
Pinckney: May his political views check the mad career of our political 
opponents; we offer for their consideration his own words: "All at 
tempts to weaken the Union by maintaining that each State is sepa 
rately and individually independent, is a species of political heresy 
which can never benefit us, but may bring on the most serious dis 
tresses." 

By Wm. S. Blain. The Patriots of France, Poland, Belgium, and 
Ireland: Their sufferings, devotion and example in the cause of human 
liberty, admonish the emigrant citizens not to hazard lightly the bless 
ings they enjoy. They aro bound by their oath of citizenship, by grat 
itude, by the hopes and miseries of their native land, to unite with the 
man of the people, the illustrious Jackson, in preserving forever the 
integrity of the only free nation on earth that has the power and the 
will to give an asylum to the oppressed. 

By J. W. Bouse. Wm. Drayton, Daniel E. Huger, James R. Pringle, 
James L. Petigru: Luminous stars in our country s constellation; pa 
triots and statesmen, who will defend with their eloquence and energy 
the rights of their State, and still preserve the Union. 

By C. Cassin. If the people are educated, if the Press is free, if the 
friends of order be firm and united, the institutions of Washington, the 
last citadel of human liberty, will continue for ages to be the glory of 
the new world, and the envy and admiration of the old. 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 103 

By Mr. Yinyard. The spread Eagle, the emblem of the United States ; 
the Palmetto Tree, the emblem of the State of South Carolina : May the 
eagle ever rest in its top. 

By Philip S. Cohen. Liberty and the Union : The watchword of free 
men. We will maintain the one by duly appreciating the value of the 
other. 

By H. S. Tew. South Carolina : The Union is the ark of her political 
safety. 

By X. L. Toomer. South Carolina: May she avoid the strife and 
bloody struggles of Columbia, Mexico, and Buena Ayres, excited by a 
few monarchists for the benefit of the few. 

By J. Cook. Youthful mechanics in the day of this political excite 
ment, let us follow the precepts of our cool and deliberate advocate, Col. 
William Drayton. 

By Jackson M Clelland. Perpetuity to the principles on which alone 
republicanism is based Destruction to those which constitute the char 
ter of monarchy. 

By C. R. Brewster. The United States : May they never lose so fair 
a sister as South Carolina, and may she never be so utter reckless of 
consequences as to wish to be separated, nor so wayward as to desire the 
nullification of her rulers. 

By Hugh McDonald. General Daniel E. Huger : More of the Roman 
than any man living, except Andrew Jackson. 

By Richard Geurry. The Constitution of the United States : Like the 
magnificent firmament of Heaven, under which we live and move and 
have our being, it inspires light and love and liberty ; like it, too, the 
clouds of ambition and the tempests of faction occasionally obscure its 
glory and disfigure its beauty. But these things past, the eternal azure 
and the stars immortal shine on more bright and calm and glorious. 

By George S. Bryan. Nullification : Anarchy reduced to system.. 

By John J. Radford. Nullification, Disunion : If our adopted broth 
ers must not assist to preserve the Republic, surely a violation of sacred 
duty will disgrace it themselves the land of their birth, posterity. 

By Edward Lowndes. Judge D. E. Huger : Long may he live for the 
Nation s defense, and his principles flourish a thousand years hence. 

By George Buist, one of the Stewards. The Patriots of the Revolu 
tion : A splendid galaxy of glory; we will protect and defend there- 
publican fabric which they reared against the rash assaults of the 
ambitious and the deluded. 

By Jacob Kemnit. General Andrew Jackson: The friend of the 
Union, the Democrats of America will support his re-election, nor will 
the children of dear Erin forget him who chastised their Saxon tyrants. 
Notwithstanding, he may be opposed by the whole order of well-bred 
gentlemen and by the dreamers of a Republic south of the Potomac. 



104 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

By Thomas L. Jones. The Union: Consecrated by the bloodof our 
forefathers, it must receive the support of their offspring. 

By John L. Poyas, of Daniel s Island. The Federal Union and 
Andrew Jackson: The one must be preserved; the other must be re- 
elected. 

By J. Haliday. J. L. Petigru, Hugh S. Legare and Benjamin F. 
Hunt: How consistent and bright is the track of patriotism; the gene 
rous advocates of Catholic emancipation on the 26th of September, 1828, 
have been found true to their country and their oath, defending the 
Fourth of July, 1831. Honor and gratitude to the friends of the Republic. 
Children of Erin, will you desert the cause of that America for which 
Montgomery and Warren and Jasper, and so many of your countrymen 
fought and bled ? 

By George Oxford Pcmberton. The Orator of the Day, Hon. William 
Drayton : An able and efficient artisan toiling for his country s good, 
which he has deeply at heart. 

By Daniel Horlbeck, one of the Stewards. Nullification: "None but 
a recreant knight would shiver a lance in so inglorious " a cause. 

By J. B. Clapp. The hickory and the palmetto planted together : 
Their Union must be preserved. 

By S. Kneply. Here is to all true Americans : May they prosper in 
all their undertakings, and stick to the Union. United we stand, di 
vided we fall. 

By S. J. Cohen. The Union : Achieved by the valor of the patriots of 
76; as descendants of those patriots, we will cling to it as long as rea 
son shall have its sway. 

By Thomas Crbett, Jr., one of the Stewards. Our Fair Experiment 
of Republican Government : The pride of patriotism, and the boast of 
freemen. Without Union, without hope with it, the world s best hope. 

By J. B. Thorp. Disunion : Suicide ! 

By L. J. Crovat. The Principles we Celebrate : They may disunite 
for the present, but eventually they must consolidate. 

By P. Cantwell. Ireland : It is as natural for her sons to hate aristo 
crats and their mercenaries, as it is a national virtue in them to love 
light and liberty. Her history is frequently adduced to show how much 
evil may be inflicted upon a nation in the form of law, by an interested 
majority. It, however, proves that the triumph of a good cause is cer 
tain. 

By Capt. William Nowton, one of the Stewards. The Hon. William 
Drayton : The able supporter of our rights. May his present friends 
never forsake him, nor posterity ever fail him. 

By Thomas Tennant. The Hon. William Draytonj One of the 
brightest stars of South Carolina; the faithful sentinel on the watch- 
tower of the Union; the man in whom we can confide. 



UNION PARTY CELEBRATE. 105 

By Henry. F. Faber. The Tariff: Acknowledged by many to be 
unconstitutional or impolitic, few will acknowledge nullification a con 
stitutional remedy for its modification. 

By Joseph W. Faber. The Federal Constitution : The rich inheri 
tance left to us by its founders/ may the present generation entail it to 
their latest posterity as the only ark of our political safety. 

By Robert Pringle, Chairman of the Stewards. Col. Drayton : If men 
of his abilities, integrity and patriotism continue to influence our public 
councils our country will forever enjoy the blessings we this day cele 
brate. 

By Legrand G. Capers, one of the Stewards. The Constitution : Like 
the firmament of Heaven, it sprang originally from contending influ 
ences. The doom of fate would seem to rest upon it; by conflict and 
contention can it alone be preserved. We must do our duty. 

By G. Brush. The Patriots of the Revolution : A splendid galaxy of 
glory. The Republican fabric which they erected will be protected from 
the rash assaults of the ambitious and the deluded. 

By a Member. General Morgan: A patriot who immortalized the 
"Cowpens" in sending Tarleton to enjoy a "Pavilion." 

By Abraham Motte. Col. Pringle : The patriotic President of this 
our really National Festival. 



CHAPTER III. 
j-li5 public Life ^le^ted ai? 




HILE these proceedings do not indicate that the 
opposing parties were arrayed against each other 
in hostile attitude, yet this was unhappily the 
case. Mr. Poinsett, who was sincerely attached to the 
Union, urged the necessity of organization among the mem 
bers of his party, and at an early stage of the excitement 
was credited with being in collusion with the Federal au 
thorities at Washington and their selected agent to suppress 
any revolutionary proceedings on the part of the Nullifiers. 
Whatever of truth may be in this, it nevertheless is a fact 
of history that the Union party were better organized than 
the Nullifiers. 

I find in the Charleston Year Book for 1887 a sketch of 
the life of Mr. Poinsett, from which I extract the following: 

The superior organization of the Union men under the management 
of Mr. Poinsett was never more apparent than when the two parties 
came face to face one night after each one had attended a public gath 
ering in a different part of the city, and, to the surprise of the un 
initiated, the Union men as they halted were found to be in military 
formation, while the other party were without order or discipline. 

This was at the commencement of the agitation, and the only arms 
the Union men had were clubs. They were provided with these because 
there were threats that their meetings would be broken up, and it was 
to prevent any such attempt that they were thus prepared. Later on 
the Nullifiers \vere uniformed as State troops, and frequently drilled, 
and their infantry and artillery were often seen in the public streets. 
It was then found necessary to give an equally efficient organization to 
the Union men, but this could only be accomplished by doing it se 
cretly, as the Nullifiers were in possession of the State government, 
and would have prevented any open drilling of their opponents. 

In the city of Charleston it was doubtful at first which party was in 
the majority, and it was not definitely settled in favor of the Nullifiers 

[106] 



HIS PUBLIC LIFE. 107 

until the annual election in 1831 for Intendant. Great efforts were 
made on both sides and much excitement prevailed. The successful 
candidate was Henry L. Pinckney over Mr. James R. Pringle, who had 
been the incumbent the year previous. 

It can thus be seen that the situation was a most serious one. The 
division of families, on account of the various members holding differ 
ent political opinions, was one of the painful features of the agitation, 
and many of those who remember the period look back with horror at 
the extreme probability there was of bloodshed when the passions w^ere 
at their height. 

Early in the year following the anniversary celebration 
above reported, and before the election for delegates took 
place, a satire on Nullification appeared in pamphlet form, 
written in biblical style, which attracted much attention by 
its caustic wit and well-directed sarcasm. It was entitled 
the Book of Nullification. For some time the author was 
not discovered, but before the election he was found to be 
Mr. Memminger, who had thus brought himself promi 
nently before the people, and by his excellent humor aided 
the cause that had so warmly enlisted his sympathies. 

I have secured a copy of this unique production, and em 
body it in this volume as a specimen of my honored friend s 
wit. (See Appendix.) 

The Convention was held at the time and place appointed. 

In spite of every remonstrance and effort on the part of 
the Union men, a majority of the delegates elected were 
Nullifiers. Of the acts of this body, and of the historic 
Ordinance of Nullification, the reader is referred to the 
voluminous Journal of the Convention. 

I am reminded that I have not set out to write a history 
of politics in South Carolina, and only refer to these mat 
ters as they become a part of the history of Mr. Memmin 
ger. He was not a member of the Convention, nor did he 
seek to be such. In order, however, that the reader may 
have an idea of the relative strength of the Union and Nul- 



108 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

lification parties at the time, I extract from the Journal the 
vote as recorded on the final passage of the " Ordinance to 
Nullify Certain Acts of Congress/ etc. 

THOSE VOTING AYE ARE: B. Adams, James Adams, Ayer, James 
Anderson, Robert Anderson, Arnold, Baker, Ball, Bee, Boone, Barn- 
well, Bardwell, Blewett, Butler, J. G. Brown, John Brown, Bauskett, 
A. Burt, F. Burt, Barton, Bowie, Black, Belin, Cohen, Cordes, Colcock, 
Charles G. Capers, Clifton, Caughman, Counts, Chambers, Campbell, 
Dubose, Dawson, Douglas, Elmore, Earle, Evans, Felder, Fuller, T. L. 
Gourdin, P. G. Gourdin, Goodwin, Gaillard, Griffin, Glenn, Gregg, J. 
Hamilton, Sr., Heyward, Hayne, Harper, Harrison, Hatton, Harllee, 
Huguenin, I On, Jeter, Johnston, James, Jacobs, Keith, Key, King, La- 
Coste, Legare, Lawton, Long, Lipscomb, Logan, Littlejohn, Lancaster, 
Magrath, Markley, Maner, Murry, Mills, McCall, Means, Mays, McDuf- 
fie, Monroe, S. D. Miller, J. L. Miller, J. B. Miller, McCord, Novell, 
O Brannon, Philips, Parker, Porcher, Palmer, C. C. Pinckney, W. C. 
Pinckney, T. Pinckney, Quash, Rivers, Rowe, Rogers, Ray, J. G. Spann, 
J. Spann, Simons, Shand, J. M. Smith, G. H. Smith, W. Smith, S. Smith, 
Stringfellow, Scott, Symmes, Sims, Singleton, Stevens, Screven, Turnbull, 
Tyler, Tidyman Ulmer, Vaught, Vanderhorst, Wilson, Walker, Williams, 
Williamson, Woodward, Wardlaw, Whatley, Whitfield, Watt, Ware, 
Waties, Warren, Young, and the president of the Convention (James 
Hamilton, Jr.) 136 ayes. 

THOSE VOTING No ARE : Brockman, Burgess, Crooke, Cureton, Chestnut, 
Cannon, Clinton, J. R. Ervin, R. Ervin, J. P. Evans, Gibson, A. Huger, 
D. E. Huger, Levy, Lowry, Manning, Midleton, O Neal, P. Phelps, Perry, 
John S. Richardson, J. P. Richardson, Rowland, Shannon, Whitten, and 
Wilkins 36 noes. 

Those voting against the ordinance refused to sign the in 
strument, protesting against it as being unwise and inexpe 
dient. 

The vigorous measures enforced by President Jackson to 
collect the revenues of the government, and the mediation of 
the State of Virginia, through her Commissioner, the Hon. 
Benjamin Watkins Leigh, and the act of Congress "reduc 
ing and modifying the duties on foreign imports," passed 
after the action of the Convention, induced this body to pass 
an ordinance in March, 1833, rescinding the Ordinance of 
Nullification. The dissolution of the Convention on the 18th 



HIS PUBLIC LIFE. 109 

of March, put at res t the question of Nullification, and al 
layed all apprehensions of a conflict with the general gov 
ernment or of civil war. 

In the meantime, the course pursued hy Mr. Memminger 
had not only brought him prominently before the people of 
Charleston, but had made him quite popular there; so much 
so, that at the next city election he was made an alderman 
of the city by a decided majority. He had previously wooed 
and won the love of Miss Mary Wilkinson, a lovely lady of 
Georgetown, South Carolina. Her parents were from among 
those good people of Virginia who, from the earliest history 
of that great State, have transmitted through generations 
the graces and virtues of their own peculiar civilization. 
There is no single act of a man s life more important, or 
that must affect his future life for weal or for woe more de 
cidedly, than the association of marriage. In this union of 
hopes and aspirations, this hazard of happiness, Mr. Mem 
minger was certainly blessed. Life was now, to him, worth 
the living. With the sweet influences of his own home-altar 
ever with him, new aspirations and holier loves made the 
labors of the day lighter and the joys of the evening s shade 
sweeter than ever before. 

His most important act as an alderman became perma 
nently fixed in the great shopping street and thoroughfare 
of Charleston. The great fire of 1838 presented the oppor 
tunity, which he was quick to perceive, of widening King 
street. Accordingly he brought forward and had passed an 
ordinance condemning a few feet of the lots on either side 
of the street in the burnt district, which, when that part of 
the city was rebuilt, made King street, from Society, south, 
near ten feet wider than it had formerly been, thus adding 
not only to its appearance, but to the comfort of pedestrians 
and the convenience of the many vehicles that would in 
former days almost block this highway. He also drafted a 



110 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

memorial to the Legislature praying the aid of the State to 
enable persons whose houses and stores had been destroyed 
to rebuild the same; which, through his active co-operation 
with his colleagues, assumed the form of an act of the Leg 
islature known as the " Fire Loan/ lending the credit of 
the State to the unfortunate victims of the fire on such very 
liberal terms as to enable them to restore the city in better 
form than before the disaster. 

It was at this time that Mr. Memminger first began to 
study the public or "free" schools of Charleston and the 
State, to which in subsequent years he brought the energies 
of his mind in devising the system now so popular, and 
which, in this respect, meets so admirably the need of the 
people. In the year 1834, co-operating with Mr. W. J. Ben 
nett, the noble son of his benefactor, Mr. Memminger under 
took to reform the whole public school system of the State. 
Especially did he seek to elevate the standard and make 
more efficient the system in vogue at Charleston. With this 
object in view he traveled extensively, with Mr. Bennett as 
his companion, through the Northern and New England 
States studying their common-school systems, and gathering 
such practical information as to their administration as 
enabled him when he returned to devise, with Mr. Bennett, 
a plan which, with subsequent modifications and improve 
ments, continues to this day an enduring monument to the 
honor and memory of these good men a monument more 
imperishable than bronze or marble. 

In no sense of the word was Mr. Memminger a selfish 
person. While the noble impulses of a generous nature 
warmed his soul, he was never guilty of that injudicious 
expression of this high trait of character which would lavish 
gifts and bestow favors without regard to the individual, or 
the results to follow upon his act. However well meant and 
however noble may be the impulse, it is, alas! for poor hu- 





W. JKFFKKSOX P.KNNKTT. 



HIS PUBLIC LIFE. Ill 

inanity, too often the case that a benefaction proves to be a 
curse rather than a blessing. 

Into his counsels and confidence he received Mr. "W. Jef 
ferson Bennett as a younger brother, who had grown into 
manhood about the same hearthstone and in the same family 
circle that had received him as a member. There was a 
very strong attachment existing between these noble men 
one that was never broken by any estrangement, but con 
tinued to grow in strength and to increase in reciprocal 
affection until the death of Mr. Bennett, in 1874, left only 
with Mr. Memminger sweet memories of his friend and 
adopted brother. 

The benevolent character and considerate philanthropy 
of Mr. Bennett is thus described in an oration delivered at 
the centennial celebration of the Charleston Orphan House 
in 1890 by Rev. Charles S. Vedder, D. D. Dr. Vedder 
quotes from Mr. Montague Grimke, embodying in his own 
admirable remarks, those of this estimable gentleman. 

It will not be invidious to name Mr. Wm. Jefferson Bennett, to whom, 
after John Robertson, the Orphan House is more indebted than to any 
other man. He was a second father to the institution, giving himself to 
its service with a fervor which never knew respite, and a practical wis 
dom seldom or never at fault. It was not the privilege of the present 
speaker to know this estimable gentleman, but he has long known the 
history of his relation to this institution, and feels fully warranted in 
this tribute to his memory. " He was," says Mr. Grimke, " the truest 
patriot and philanthropist I ever met, and few of the present generation 
have any conception of the extent and value of his labors in behalf of 
education and charities in this city." 

Such was the intimate, life-long friend of Mr. Memmin 
ger, who loved Jefferson Bennett from an intuition of his 
own nature that made him a kindred spirit. From the 
same eloquent address I extract the following tribute to Mr. 
Memminger: 

Nor was that eminent chief magistrate (Hon. William A. Courtenay) 
content with rehabilitating in honor the men and memories of the re- 



112 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

mote past. Under his administration, the Council Chamber of the city 
became in its measure a gallery of monumental tributes to the great 
and worthy of more recent days. AVe may well signalize this fact to 
day because one of those whose lineaments are thus preserved in im 
perishable marble was once an Orphan-House boy, rising by dint of his 
own industry, energy, and ability to exalted places in the State and in 
the Confederate Cabinet ; his achievements in behalf of education in this 
city were deemed worthy by his fellow-commissioners of the public 
schools of an abiding recognition in the city s capital. 

As a practical result of the visit of Mr. Memminger and 
Mr. Bennett to the public schools of the northern cities and 
States we have the present excellent system of graded 
schools in Charleston, second in efficiency to none in the 
United States. In this work Mr. Memminger was also ably 
assisted by the Hon. A. G. Magrath, who became a member 
of the Board of School Commissioners, and brought to the 
w r ork of these good men the resource of his accomplished 
intellect and his devoted patriotism. An act of the Legisla 
ture was passed authorizing the municipal government of 
Charleston to levy a special tax for educational purposes. 
This measure was opposed, with surprising zeal, by those 
whose want of knowledge of the system, or whose prejudice 
against " free schools," caused them to go to great extremes 
in manifesting their disapproval. From an official circular, 
issued by the " Bureau of Education of the United States," 
Hon. N. H. R. Dawson, Commissioner, published in 1889, I 
extract the following condensed statement: 

The commissioners in Charleston had seen the intent of the original 
act, and had set to work to carry it out. Public schools had succeeded 
in Nashville and New Orleans, and why not in Charleston ? This is 
what Mr. Barnard pointed out when he had prepared a communication 
on public schools at the request of Governor Alston and others. The 
schools in Charleston had followed the general course of the others in 
the State. Under the law, five houses had been erected and furnished 
by the teachers, on a salary of nine hundred dollars. The attendance 
had been in 1812,260; in 1818, about 300; in 1823, about 320; in 1829, 
about 467; in 1834, about 525. 



HIS PUBLIC LIFE. 113 

But the Charleston commissioners, especially C. G. Memminger, A. 
G. Magrath, and W. Jefferson Bennett, roused from their lethargy, and in 
the face of bitter prejudice revolutionized the system. They worked on 
a totally different plan. Their aim was to provide schools for all, and 
not for pauper pupils only. In 1855 they built a house on St. Philip s 
street at a cost of twenty-five thousand dollars, to accommodate eight 
hundred pupils. Three years later they erected another on Friend 
street at a cost of thirty thousand dollars. A kind of normal school for 
teachers was formed to meet every Saturday under the direction of the 
superintendent of public schools. They also built a high school for girls 
at a cost of twenty-five thousand dollars, of which the State paid ten 
thousand dollars and the citizens of Charleston the remainder. The 
expenses of its maintenance were ten thousand dollars annually, of 
which the city paid half and the State guaranteed the other half on con 
dition of being permitted to send ninety pupils. A normal department 
was attached to this. 

The whole system was inaugurated with appropriate ceremonies on 
July 4, 1856, when Dr. S. IT. Dickson delivered an address. It was 
modelled on the "New York" plan, and the heads of the schools were 
brought from the North, so that teachers thoroughly acquainted with 
the system would direct the management 

In a short time the number of children in attendance was one thou 
sand four hundred, and there were more applications than could be 
granted. In 1860 the attendance was four thousand. 

This was done in the face of strong opposition. "Fair Play" openly 
charged that the change had been made in order that the new board 
might get the benefit of the " spoils," and claimed that they had over 
stepped their limits in setting up common schools, when the act only 
called for free schools. He also called attention to the resolutions of 
the last session of the Legislature, which had " re-announced the fact 
that the free schools are for the poor." He concluded by confidently 
venturing the prediction " that the new system, unsupported as it is by 
law, will not succeed." But it did succeed, and, according to a writer in 
Barnard s Journal, " revolutionized public sentiment in that city, and 
was fast doing it for the whole State when the mad passions of war con 
summated another revolution." 

The public schools of Charleston are handsome structures, 
admirably adapted to the purpose for which they were 
designed, and well equipped with all the necessary appli 
ances for instruction from the kindergarten to the high 
school, from which the youth of either sex may go with 
8 



114 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

much better educations than some receive from institutions 
of more pretentious claims. The buildings bear the names 
of those who have been most deeply interested in their con 
struction and in the blessings they bestow upon the commu 
nity in which they are so well maintained. 

The Bennett school for Mr. Wm. Jefferson Bennett; the 
Memminger school perpetuates the name of the one whose 
history I am writing; the Crafts school in honor of Hon. 
William Crafts; the Courtenay school for Hon. Wm. A. 
Courtenay, while others quite as well equipped bear the 
names of the streets on which they are located as the 
Meeting-street or Mary-street schools. Mr. Memminger did 
not confine his interest in public education to the city of 
Charleston alone. No one of our public men did more 
towards aiding the institutions of the State designed to fur 
nish to its citizens the advantages and benefits of an educa 
tional system that would reach all classes and conditions. 
As early as 1841 we find from an examination of the Jour 
nal of the House of Representatives that as a member of that 
body he introduced the following resolution: 

Mr. Memminger submitted a resolution, which, after a few remarks 
from him, was unanimously agreed to and ordered to the Senate, direct 
ing the commissioners to provide for the education of the deaf and dumb 
children of this State, and to appropriate one-half of the amount for the 
education of the deaf and dumb to the education of the blind of this 
State at institutions specially to be provided for the education of the 
blind. 

Thus was commenced the noble charity of the State which 
gives to those unfortunates who have been deprived of sight, 
who have no sense of hearing, and are dumb, the means of 
acquiring an education of other faculties, by which means 
many are now enabled to make comfortable livings. 



CHAPTER 1Y. 
Cau/yer 




ability displayed by Mr. Memminger at the 
Bar of Charleston, the earnest and faithful man 
ner in which he discharged the duties imposed 
upon him as an alderman, added to his popularity. So 
much so, that at the fall elections of 1836 he was chosen one 
of the members of the House of Representatives from the 
parishes of St. Philips and St. Michaels, in which was situ 
ated the city of Charleston. His election may be also con 
sidered as a triumph of the Conservative or Union State 
Rights Party, which from the reaction that followed the ex 
citement and alarm engendered by the discussions of the 
Nullification measure, became stronger at this time than it 
had been before, or has since been, in the goodly city by the 
sea. 

While the earnest spirit and logical mind of Mr. Mem 
minger had been made manifest in the debating society, the 
court-room, and in his public addresses; and while these all 
gave great promise of a future career of distinction and of 
usefulness, he was yet to evidence those wonderful powers of 
analysis, and that remarkable sagacity which made him so 
prominent as a statesman and ranked him among the ablest 
lawyers of the country. The great political economist and 
wise legislator, the jurist and the advocate, v/as yet to be 
come a demonstration, and take his place among the repre 
sentative men of his time. 

Mr. Memminger s introduction into public life was at a 
most opportune time for the display of his natural endow 
ments, and furnished many occasions for the exercise of the 

[ 115 j 



116 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

talents committed to his keeping by the Creator of all men. 
We do not fail to achieve success in life for the want of op 
portunities. These come to all men, and are just such as 
their abilities enable them to perceive, and their energies 
enable them to properly improve. It is indeed true that 
"there is a tide in the affairs of men/ and it is also true 
that this tide must be taken at its flow. It will not take you 
forward or backward against your will or your wish, but you 
must take it. It will not rise to some height, where your 
vanity may have taken you to wait in listless apathy and 
dream away life in the seductive shades of inaction, where 
you have allowed yourself to become fixed above the highest 
water-mark of all opportunity, but it. surely comes to " lead 
on to fortune " those who are willing and active in the judi 
cious improvement of every occasion, however small, to meet 
its " flood." Such an one never fails to find an occasion, 
and is sure to meet with an opportunity. Mr. Memminger 
well understood this, and no one more fully appreciated 
than he did the value of time and the necessity for decision 
and prompt action. His remark to a gentleman with whom 
he was once conversing, that " one often lost more time in 
deciding what to do, than was required to do it in," is but 
an expression of his active nature. 

In order that the reader may have a clear conception of 
the general condition of the country at the time that Mr. 
Memminger entered upon public life as a legislator, I will 
endeavor here to outline this, and measure, if possible, the 
" tide " that bore him and others on to fame and fortune. 

The great McDuffie was then Governor of the State; he 
whose prescience was but the intuition of a great mind, and 
whose record remains with us to-day among the glories of 
the past a splendid chapter in the history of South Caro 
lina whose name and face, with that of the great Hayne, 
is carved upon our State House as the synonym of patriot- 




MR. MEMMINGER 

:it :>>() years. 



THE LA WYER. 117 

ism. Governor McDuffie s message to the legislatures of 
1835 and 1836 so clearly state the condition of public affairs 
at that time, and the subjects that were brought to the con 
sideration of the legislators are so distinctly set forth that I 
reproduce them in the Appendix to this work, and ask the 
reader s reference thereto. These State papers will not only 
grace this Memoir, but are deemed by the writer the best 
means of presenting a just conception of the momentous 
questions that for years after engaged the attention and in 
voked the thoughtful consideration of the best and wisest 
men of the entire country, and are yet forming, to a certain 
extent, subjects for discussion that excite in the minds of 
the patriot the gravest apprehensions. 

The session of the House of Representatives in which Mr. 
Memminger first took his seat as a legislator was remarkable 
in that it brought to this Council Chamber of the State a 
number of young men who have since become distinguished 
in the history of this State, and whose names are familiar 
to thousands throughout the country. 

MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, NOVEMBER, 1836. 

St. Michael s and St. Philip s Parishes. Kerr Boyce, Otis Mills, C. G. 
Memminger, Richard Yeadon, Jr., Joshua TV. Toomer, John Phillips, 
Samuel P. Ripley, Charles Edmondson, Edward H. Edwards, R. W. Sey 
mour, John C. Ker, George Gibbons, James L. Petigru, Wm. Cross, 
Edward Frost, John Huger. 

Williamsburg. Joseph Scott, W. J. Buford. 

Lancaster. Wm. Reed, J. P. Crockett. 

Horry. John W. Durant. 

Prince William. J. B. Ellis, James S. McPherson. 

St. James, Santee. John A. Wigfall. 

St. John s, Berkley. Peter P. Palmer, F. A. Porcher. 

All Saints. Joseph Alston. 

Laurens. John H. Irby, Henry C. Young, Thomas F. Jones, John F. 
Kern. 

Marlborough.C. W. Dudley. 

Prince George, WinyawJohn W. Coachman, T. P. Carr, A. H. Belin. 

St. Mathews. Thomas J. Goodwin. 



118 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

Fairfield. David. McDowell, David II. Means, John Buchanan, John 
J. Myers. 

Union. Wm. M. Glenn, M. A. Moore, A. N. Thompson. 

Marion. Wm. W. Harllee, Samuel F. Gibson. 

Richland.E. F. Elmore, J. II. Adams, D. J. McCord, B. L. McLaugh- 
lin. 

Pendleton.F. W. Symmes, O. R. Broyles, John Maxwell, John Mar 
tin, Joseph T. Whitfield, Joel H. Berry, Bailey Barton. 

Clarendon Wm. R. Burgess, James P. Richardson. 

Claremont.-IsB.ac Lenoir, James W. English, R. R. Spann. 

Lexington. Henry Arther, Samuel Boozer. 

Newberrij John P. Neel, James MoiTett, P. C. Caldwell. 

York. J. D. Witherspoon, Samuel Rainey, James Moore, A. Hardin. 

/St. Luke s. James A. Strobart, William F. Colcock. 

St. Bartholomew s. John D. Edwards, J. Murdough, Hugo Sheridan. 

St. Andrew s. W. T. Bull. 

Barn-well. John M. Allen, John B. Bowers, W T . M. Duncan. 

Kcrsliaw. John Murry, Lewis J. Patterson, M. M. Levy. 

Abbeville. David L. Wardlaw, James Fair, A. B. Arnold, James Gil- 
lam, Donald Douglass. 

Chester. John Douglass, William Woods, F. W. Davie. 

Spartanburg.John Crawford, H. H. Thompson, A. Barry, John H. 
Hoey, S. N. Evins. 

Edgefield. John S. Jeter, James Tompkins, John Hunt, Tilman Wat 
son, Abner Whatley, M. Laborde. 

St. James, Goose Creek. John Wilson. 

St. Helena. Thomas I. Fripp, A. M. Smith, Charles W. Capers. 

St. Paul s. Benjamin Perry. 

Greenville. Benjamin F. Perry, Spartan Goodlet, T. B. Brockman. 

Orange. W. D. V. S. Jamison, Elisha Tyler. 

St. George s, Dorchester. David Gavin. 

St. Peter s. W. G. Roberds, William W. Gavin. 

Darlington. George Huggins. 

From among these representatives David L. Wardlaw, of 
Abbeville, subsequently eminent in the history of the State 
as a jurist, was chosen " Speaker." There is no more im 
portant duty imposed upon the presiding officer of a legis 
lative body than that of forming the committees, to whom 
are referred for special investigation and report such matters 
as may come before the body for consideration. In making 
these appointments he is supposed to be selecting from 



THE LAWYER. 119 

among the members those whose experiences and abilities 
best qualify them for the discharge of the special duties as 
signed to them. I find upon an examination of the Journal 
for this session that the following members composed the 
Committee of "Ways and Means" (or Finance): F. W. 
Davie, C. G. Memminger, Benj. T. Elmore, F. W. Sy mines, 
Charles Edmondson, Ker Boyce, Otis Mills, F. A. Porcher, 
A. B. Arnold, Thomas E. Powe, John Wilson, and Lewis J. 
Patterson. 

On "Federal Relations" the following were appointed: 
Richard Yeadon, Jr., M. Laborde, James L. Petigru, C. G. 
Memminger, Benj. F. Perry, F. W. Davie, J. H. Irby, John 
S. Jeter, A. II. Belin, D. J. McCord, J. T. Whitfield, John 
D. Edwards, H. H. Thompson. 

On "Education": C. G. Memminger, W. F. Colcock, V. 
D. V. Jamison, James A. Strobart, M. Laborde. 

It will be seen that upon three of the most important com 
mittees of the House, Mr. Memminger, at this, his first 
session, was appointed to serve, and was made chairman of 
one that on Education. This unusual distinction is sel 
dom, if ever, conferred upon a new member unless he has 
manifested his abilit} r , and is recognized in a body composed 
of such representative men as being fully adequate to the 
discharge of the duties imposed. He does not appear to 
have engaged, to any great^extent, in the debates of this ses 
sion. Beyond the work of the committees to which he was 
assigned he was doubtless engaged in studying the rules of 
the House and mastering the precedents and formulas of 
parliamentary practice, in which he became a great profi 
cient in after years, and through the knowledge of which he 
was enabled in many subsequent sessions to become, in fact, 
the leader of the House, and a most useful member of this 
body. He was preparing himself for that long term of public 
service which, beginning with this year, was only inter- 



120 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

rupted in 1860, when his abilities and experiences were 
transferred to the Cabinet of President Davis and the ser 
vice of the Confederate States as Secretary of the Treasury. 
The careful study of the financial policy of the State and 
of the banking system then authorized by law, claimed his 
special consideration, in connection with public education, 
and formed the chief subject matters of his thought. In 
the next session these subjects brought from him such ex 
pressions of his statesmanship as led in the end to the ad 
justments which secured for South Carolina her high finan 
cial standing, and kept her securities and her bank currency 
at par with the best in the United States. The only meas 
ure of consequence originating with Mr. Memminger, and 
that took the form of law at this session, was an act to pre 
vent the circulation of mutilated bank bills; mentioned here 
from the fact that it was the first bill he introduced and the 
first law he ever framed. He also introduced a bill to regu 
late the lien of decrees in equity, but it failed to pass at this 
session as it did in the session of 1837; but with a perti 
nacity characteristic of its author, it was reintroduced at 
succeeding sessions until finally it became a statute of the 
State. 

The year 1837 brought to the country one of those revul 
sions which at different periods have evidenced the insta 
bility of our financial systems in the United States and 
brought great disaster upon the people. 

This special one grew out of the hostility of the Republi 
can or Democratic party to the United States Bank, which 
was regarded as being only a feature of consolidation the 
cardinal principle of the old Federal or Whig party. Proxi- 
mately it was occasioned by the withdrawal of the deposits 
of the United States Government from the United States 
Bank and placing them with local banks in various sections 
of the country a measure of President Jackson. The result 



THE LAWYER. 121 

was a widespread depression in all business matters, pro 
ducing bankruptcy among merchants and business men 
unparalleled before in the history of our country. 

The effect upon the industrial interests of South Carolina 
is well presented in the message of Governor Butler to the 
Legislature of 1837, from which I make the following ex 
tracts. The reader will be thus better prepared to under 
stand the legislation that followed and was rendered neces 
sary to establish a solvent banking system in South Caro 
lina, and in which Mr. Memminger was not only an active 
participant, but in which he established Iris reputation as a 
leading statesman. 

GOVERNOR BUTLER S MESSAGE. 

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, November 28, 1837. 
Fellow-citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives: 

At the time of your last adjournment the country was apparently in 
the enjoyment of unparalleled prosperity. Subsequent events have only 
developed the true state of things which then existed, and which has re 
sulted in great political confusion and commercial embarrassment. The 
change w r as so sudden and unexpected that even the wisest and most 
prudent were not prepared for it. Although you meet in the midst of 
difficulty and confusion, and under circumstances seemingly more un 
favorable than when you adjourned, I cannot but regard the country in 
a. better situation now than it was then. As our distresses have, in some 
measure, arisen from the money-making spirit of the times ; and as they 
address themselves to our individual interests, I feel confident that we 
will profit by the enquiry and discussions that have ensued. The people 
have been excited to the consideration of subjects which have heretofore 
too little attracted public attention ; and I am satisfied that the coun 
try will go through and rise from the severe trial of the times, with im 
provement and ultimate advantage. Our calamities have proceeded 
from the passions, contrivances, and imprudences of the people them 
selves and their federal rulers. In a time of profound peace, and while 
at liberty to follow the pursuits of our own choice, we have brought 
about the evils of which we complain. Under the influence of a kind 
Providence, we have just cause to be happy and thankful for the many 
blessings we are permitted to enjoy ; and should manifest our gratitude 
to the great Ruler of events for the present prosperous condition of the 
jState. The harvests have been sufficiently abundant to satisfy all rea 
sonable demands. The country enjoys uninterrupted peace and general 
good health. 



122 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

I have no disposition, as Governor of the State, to interfere with 
questions that are committed by the Constitution to the exclusive juris 
diction of Congress. But where our State has deeply participated in 
the evils which Congress is called upon to remedy, I hope it will not be 
deemed improper to make a few suggestions concerning the remedies 
to be applied to a common misfortune. The condition of the monied 
affairs of the country is deplorable, and form a subject of the deepest 
and most profound consideration. The derangement and confusion of 
the currency have produced much embarrassment and suffering in 
every grade of society, and in every species of business. This general 
and wide-spread distress has arisen not so much from a want of money, 
as a want of confidence in what is used as money. Much of this disorder 
in the currency owes its existence to the unfortunate experiments made 
upon it by the late Federal Executive. The war which was begun by 
him upon the United States bank was the commencement of the con 
fusion and embarrassment in our monetary affairs. Until that time we 
had a perfectly good and sound currency. The government deposits 
were taken from the United States bank, where they were safely kept, 
and placed in State banks selected for that purpose; these deposit 
banks were urged and stimulated to excessive issues to make profitable 
the money furnished them by the government; the facility of borrow 
ing money from them and other banks tempted and encouraged wild 
and extravagant speculations. This fever for speculation became so con 
tagious and contaminating as to threaten the country with general 
bankruptcy. After the country was thus flooded with a redundant de 
preciated currency, the late President of the United States (who had 
contributed so largely the means for this overtrading) was the first to 
excite alarm and create suspicion and distrust in the deposit banks by 
the issue of the Treasury circular. A general feeling of distrust and 
fear extended itself through the country; a run was made upon the 
banks, and they, from necessity, suspended specie payments. IIow r ever 
necessary the measure may have been on the part of the banks, it is very 
much to be regretted, as it has not only served to embarrass the govern 
ment, but to cast odium on the country generally. Any legislative action 
of a single State, without the co-operation of others, to attempt to coerce 
the banks to resume cash payments, would be impolitic and unjust. So far 
as to the Federal government belongs the constitutional right of regu 
lating and controlling the currency, we may indulge the hope that her 
wise and deliberate councils may devise some means to extricate the 
country from its present embarrassed and deplorable condition. But I 
have no confidence in any remedy for the existing evil, except in the 
enterprise of our people, and the abundant natural resources at their 
command. 

The important object for consideration at present is to give healthful 
action to the banks, and get them in operation again by redeeming their 



THE LA WYER. 123 

notes with specie. Every inducement and encouragement should be 
afforded to the banks to resume specie payments by discriminating be 
tween the notes of banks which pay specie and those that do not. "What 
ever may be the evils occasionally resulting from a currency principally 
composed of credit in the form of convertible bank paper, it is now too 
late to speculate upon the possible advantages of returning to a cur 
rency exclusively composed of the precious metals. In the existing 
state of the currency of the commercial world, and particularly of the 
United States, it is utterly impracticable, and would be absolutely ruin 
ous, if it were possible to effect it. In point of fact, four-fifths of the 
actual currency of the country consists of bank paper, which is received 
as money, not because it is the representative of specie (for such cer 
tainly it is not), but because the public have confidence in the solvency 
of the banks, and of their ability to redeem in specie such portion of the 
bills as the state of the exchange, foreign and domestic, may cause to be 
presented for payment. The interest of the banks, not less than their 
duty, prompts them to be prepared to redeem their bills in specie. In 
such a state of things, and unless they have been tempted by extraor 
dinary causes to issue excessively, their ability will be equal to their 
obligations. But no bank or system of banks that ever existed could 
meet the demands produced by a general loss of the public confidence. 
The existing currency, therefore, is neither specie nor the representative 
of specie, but credit so regulated as to be of equal value to specie for all 
the purposes of trade. Such being the actual condition of our currency, 
to withdraw suddenly from circulation all that portion of it which con 
sists of credit, would be to reduce all the property of the country to one- 
fourth of its present value ; and to compel all persons who are in debt, to 
pay four times as much as they contracted to pay. Credit is the reward 
of honesty and integrity, and to attempt to destroy a currency founded 
upon it, in this advanced state of civil society, would be contending 
against the lights of experience and civilization. Our country has ad 
vanced to her present high and prosperous condition by the use of bank 
ing establishments. The wants of the commercial world in its mutual 
dealings and transactions, are far beyond what the existing amount of 
the precious metals can possibly supply, and paper money is absolutely 
necessary as the representative of the credit which mercantile people re 
pose in each other. Commercial credit is based on the assumption that 
it is the interest, as well as the duty, of every man to be an honest man, to 
perform punctually his promises and contracts. By means of this system 
of mutual credit, we embark confidently in enterprises and undertakings 
which no procurable amount of gold and silver could be obtained to sup 
ply, and which, in the actual enterprises of modern days, would not be a 
tenth of the sum required. To cherish credit, public and private, is to cher 
ish honor and honesty as the actual basis of human dealings. By so doing 
we exalt the national character, by expecting and enforcing the habit of 



124 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

punctuality between individuals; and each man, under the protection 
of public opinion, as well as of the law, is enabled by means of this mutual 
confidence to embark in projects useful to himself and the public, which 
gold and silver do not exist to stimulate. Public credit may then be 
regarded in the present day as the parent of all useful enterprise; as 
the great source of mutual honor and honesty, and of mutual respect in 
society. People risk their property with feelings of perfect safety under 
its protection, and by means of it, the modern character of civilized 
society is adorned and ennobled far beyond the standard of ancient 
times, though pictured as the gold and silver age. But if public 
confidence be established as the great moving power of modern enter 
prise, it is absolutely necessary that some written memorandum 
should be taken at the time of the extent to which it is re 
posed. By making these memorandums negotiable, we are driven 
into a system of paper money; to render this safe to the holder 
it must be convertible into the common currency adopted in part 
throughout the world into metallic coin. The more perfect the system 
of public credit and mutual confidence, the less is the amount of gold 
and silver necessary to sustain it. That evils may arise from the defec 
tive construction of this part of our commercial machinery; that 
stricter regulations may be necessary to repress dishonest or imprudent 
speculation and afford additional safeguard to the creditors, may well be 
allowed, for experience has shown this to be the case. No revolution 
recorded in history has produced so great a change of property as such 
a change in the currency would produce if suddenly brought about, and 
even if effected by a very slow process, though the intensity of the suf 
fering would be diminished, it would be more protracted. All that can 
be safely accomplished by Federal or State legislation should be 
attempted to regulate the existing currency so far as to preserve its 
credit by preventing extravagant and redundant issue on the part of the 
banks. In my opinion indulgence might be afforded to these institu 
tions to the extent that prudence will allow. This State should not be 
behind any of her sisters in promptly resuming specie payments as soon 
as practicable. Good faith and justice to herself require it. In saying 
all this I mean only to point out the general principles of future action 
which prudence and caution render evident to myself. 

It will be satisfactory to our citizens to know the present condition 
of the various banks in our State. I, therefore, applied to the presidents 
of these institutions and received from them, with commendable prompt 
ness, the information I requested, with the exception of the Bank of 
Georgetown, which received my communication too late to be able to 
furnish its return in time for this message, but which has been promised, 
and is hourly expected a proof of their readiness to satisfy the public 
that the bank credit of the State will bear examination. I have caused 



THE LAWYER. 125 

the annexed abstract and summary to be drawn up from the documents 
transmitted to me, from which it appears that the liabilities of the banks 
of this State to all others than to their own stockholders are as follows : 

Circulation of their notes as stated therein $5,011,656 56 

Deduct held by them of each other s notes, and of course 

not in circulation 622,571 14 

Whole circulation -. $4,389,085 42 

Individual deposits 3,221,270 74 

Due the United States 88,058 34 

Due public officers 74,130 35 



Whole liabilities 7,772,554 85 

To meet these the banks have- 
Specie $1,436,315 12 

Public stocks 1,068,130 02 

Treasury notes of United States .... 94,500 00 



2,598,945 14 
Debts due them by individuals on notes and 

bills discounted arid other securities . . 16,657,217 64 



Whole assets $19,256,162 78 

In addition to this, under their charters, the 
individual liabilities of their stockholders 
to double the amount of their stock, ex 
clusive of the Bank of the State of South 
Carolina, amounts to 15,182,202 00 



Whole security to the holders of the notes of and deposi 
tors in our banks . . . $34,438,364 78 

To this must be added the pledge of the State for the liabilities of 
the Bank of the State of South Carolina. 

As further security to the public, I hope in future no bank will be in 
stituted without rendering the individual stockholders liable in at least 
twice the amount of the stock they hold for the debts of the institution, 
and that all proceedings against banks by their creditors shall be rather 
of a summary than a dilatory character. As a future provision, I am 
strongly of opinion, also, that no bank should be permitted to go into 
operation till at least three-fourths of the capital subscribed shall have 
been actually, substantially and availably paid in; also, that the direc 
tors should be prohibited from all discounting of stock notes. The 
public will become satisfied with these institutions in proportion as they 
see real and effectual provisions enacted to secure the due performance 
of the contracts which banks enter into for their own benefit. 



126 LIFE AND. TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

So much of Governor Butler s message as related to 
currency and the financial condition of the country was re 
ferred to a special committee, consisting of Messrs. Davie, 
Memminger, Yeadon, Rhett, Colcock, Jones, and H. H. 
Thompson. This committee, after mature deliberation, re 
ported to the House of Representatives the following resolu 
tions : 

Resolved, That in the opinion of this Legislature it is expedient that 
the revenues of the Federal government be so collected as ultimately 
to sever the government from all connection with the banks. 

Resolved, That in the opinion of this Legislature the revenue of the 
Federal government should be so deposited, kept and disbursed as not 
to be connected with or used in banking operations. 

Resolved, That it would be unconstitutional, inexpedient, and dan 
gerous to incorporate a National Bank for managing the fiscal opera 
tions of the government. 

Subsequently, Mr. Rhett offered an additional resolution, 
" that it is not intended to reflect any discredit upon the 
banks generally of the United States, nor, least of all, upon 
our own, of whose sound condition, as compared with the 
other parts of our banking system, the Legislature is fully 
satisfied." 

The debate which took place when these resolutions were 
brought- to the consideration of the House called forth the 
first expressions of Mr. Memminger s ability as a statesman, 
and at once placed him in the front rank of the political 
economists and debaters who were arrayed for and against 
the National Bank. On the 10th of December, as a substi 
tute for these resolutions, Mr. Memminger introduced the 
following : 

1. Resolved, That this Legislature is of the opinion that the public 
moneys of the United States ought not to be subjected to the casualties 
and fluctuations of banking operations, but should be gradually and 
ultimately entirely separated therefrom. 

2. Resolved, That in the opinion of this Legislature such a separation 
ought not to impair the public confidence in well-regulated banking 
institutions, but would rather tend to promote their stability and credit. 



THE LA WYER. 127 

3. Resolved, That as the trade and business of the country and the 
fiscal concerns of the United States have been for a great length of time 
conducted by means of banks, and as any great and sudden change in 
the channels of business may tend to injure the most important inter 
ests of society, it is the opinion of this Legislature that the dues of the 
general government, or a portion thereof, ought to be received and paid 
away in the notes of specie-paying banks, until sufficient time should 
be allowed for the course of trade to accommodate itself to the separa 
tion proposed. 

4. Resolved, That this Legislature considers it essential to a proper 
administration of this policy that the government should accumulate in 
the Treasury no moneys beyond its actual immediate wants, and that 
the gold and silver which may be collected for dues shall immediately 
return by payments into the circulation of the country. 

5. Resolved, That a bank of the United States, chartered by and 
conducted under the auspices of the government, is unconstitutional 
and inexpedient. 

These resolutions were, in fact, a minority report, Mr. 
Memminger presenting and alone advocating them before 
the committee, in lieu of those heretofore referred to as the 
majority report. 

The debate on these resolutions as a substitute was pro 
tracted through several days of the session. Mr. Petigru, 
who was not alone in theory but in conviction an unqualified 
Federalist of the Hamilton school, led the opposition to the 
resolution and the substitute, and was ably seconded by 
Messrs. Perry, Yeadon, Toomer, Irby, Means, Adams, 
Thompson and Strobhart. The substitute was finally 
defeated and the debate renewed on the original resolutions 
as reported by the committee. It was in this debate that 
Mr. Davie of Chester, Messrs. Seymour, Porcher and 
Laborde, in advocacy of the resolutions, made themselves 
distinguished and began a career that justly associates them 
with the great Carolinians of that day. The resolutions were 
passed by a very large majority vote, but not without 
decided opposition, as I have heretofore shown. Men of 
great ability and sincere convictions championed the 
National Bank cause from motives which were undoubtedly 



128 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

free from even a suspicion of corruption. A few were Fed 
eralists, as decidedly and as sincerely so as was ever John 
Knox or Alexander Hamilton. This measure was the chief 
concern of Mr. Memminger at this session, and in its discus 
sion he at once moved into the orbit of great minds that 
have made the galaxy of our intellectual firmament in Caro 
lina resplendent for the past century. There were other 
matters of minor importance with which I find him inter 
ested, especially with regard to the public and private inter 
ests of the city and the constituency he so well represented. 
Indeed, there is scarcely a page of the Journal of the House 
of Representatives that does not bear witness to the earnest 
spirit with which Mr. Memminger discharged the duties 
entrusted to him as a legislator. I select from among the 
many measures he brought forward only such as/becauseof 
their importance and bearing upon public interests, make 
them not only illustrative of the philosophic cast of Mr. 
Memminger s mind, but historic and of general interest to 
the reader. It was at this session of the Legislature that 
Mr. Memminger was elected one of the trustees of the South 
Carolina College, a position of honor and of responsibility, 
which he continued to fill with great benefit to his alma- 
mater for many succeeding years. 

Upon the organization of the House of Representatives in 
1838, Mr. Memminger was made chairnian of the Committee 
of Ways and Means, and also of a special committee to 
revise the rules of the House. It was at this session that he 
succeeded in having enacted a bill prepared by himself to 
amend the act previously passed for rebuilding the city of 
Charleston. The great fire of this year swept as a besom of 
destruction over the devoted city, laying in ashes many 
hundred houses and reducing to comparative poverty hun 
dreds of citizens. Without the means of rebuilding, and 
without a credit upon which to secure the means, these 



THE LA WYEE. 129 

unfortunate people were in almost a helpless condition. 
South Carolina has always sustained a maternal relation to 
her children, and was- e ver ready in the golden era of her 
history to aid those who were hy such calamities reduced to 
a necessitous condition. This amendment to the original 
bill enabled the unfortunate owners of lots in the burned 
district to obtain a loan from the Bank of the State on such 
easy terms as greatly facilitated the work of rebuilding their 
houses and restoring the city with even more attractiveness 
than it possessed before the great fire of April. 

As chairman of a special committee to whom was referred 
so much of the message of Governor Butler as related to the 
resumption of specie payment, Mr. Memminger reported a 
series of resolutions similar in substance to those reported 
by him at the previous session of the Legislature. The re 
solutions provoked a long debate one calling out the high 
est expressions of forensic effort on the part of Messrs. 
Memminger, Wardlaw, Colcock, Bellinger, and Philips in 
support of the resolutions, and Messrs. Perry, Irby, J. P. 
Read, Thompson, and Petigru in opposition. The discus 
sion continued through several days, when finally the ques 
tion was ordered and a vote taken, which indicated 103 for 
the resolutions and 10 opposed. These proceedings were 
but making more emphatic those of the preceding Legisla 
ture, and clearly indicated the increased opposition to the 
United States Bank and the methods adopted by the gen 
eral government of depositing the federal revenues with the 
State banks. I have singled out the legislation had at this 
particular time on the subject of banks and banking, not 
because Mr. Memminger confined his energies of mind as a 
legislator exclusively to this important branch of the public 
service, but that I may prepare the way for the reader to 
fully comprehend all of the circumstances, both Federal and 
State r which led to the institution of proceedings in the 

9 



1 f t ft i 



130 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGEE. 

courts against the Bank of the State by the State of South 
Carolina a celebrated suit, which, while it forms a part of 
the history of this period, will present the great legal abili 
ties and knowledge of Mr. Memminger, as the Journals of 
the House of Representatives preserve the record of his 
sagacity as a legislator. As heretofore stated, there are but 
few pages of the Journals of the House of Representatives 
that do not record his name in some way connected with 
the legislation of that body upon almost every question of 
any importance brought before it. For two decades, as 
chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, there was 
no bill reported for providing the revenues of the State that 
did not pass the scrutiny of his investigation; while as the 
chairman, or a member of many standing and special com 
mittees, he appears among the most active and earnest of 
the sons of Carolina in the unselfish service of his fellow- 
citizens. It is apparent that Mr. Memminger was opposed 
to a National Bank, as it existed in that day, and for rea 
sons so clearly stated in the resolutions presented by him to 
the House of Representatives, that I do not deem it neces 
sary to add a word to their significance. 

He did not oppose the maintenance of a State Bank under 
proper restrictions, and for the uses of the whole people, 
under such legitimate relations of commercial exchange as 
the experience of all reputable political economy would 
sanction, but he opposed any and all deviation from well 
established principles that would set up an artificial stan 
dard of values or limit the bank s privileges to compara 
tively a few persons. He believed that banks were public 
institutions, and were not to be recognised by the law-mak 
ing power as mere agencies for speculation; that they were 
designed for the convenience of the people, and not author 
ized for mere money-making purposes; that as public in 
stitutions they had never been invested with the right or 



THE LAWYER. 131 

the authority to take advantage of circumstances, and ad 
vance the interests of stockholders to the damage of the 
general community. Hence he sought in every way possi 
ble to guard the funds of depositors, and to make and to 
keep the banks solvent by limiting their powers and guard 
ing their issues of bills and other liabilities against the pos 
sibility of an improper and illegitimate relation to a univer 
sally recognised and normal standard of values. 

His wisdom and integrity of purpose was recognized by 
the constituency, who honored him with their confidence 
and by the legislative body in which he held a seat, the 
active, able and earnest exponent of sound financial philo 
sophy. 

In 1840 Mr. Memmiiiger prepared and introduced a bill 
entitled "An act to provide against the suspension of specie 
payments by the banks of South Carolina." It was under 
the provisions of this bill that proceedings were instituted 
by the State against the Bank of South Carolina to vacate 
the charter of the bank on the ground of its having sus 
pended specie payment, and the payment of deposits on 
demand. I desire to present this case in full, as with a few 
others I may select, it will be the best evidence I can lay 
before the reader of the ability of Mr. Memminger as alawyer, 
and of his sagacity as a statesman. 

"The Bank Case," as it is known among the lawyers, but 
more properly the case of the State versus the Bank of South 
Carolina, was an issue joined on a scire facias sued out of the 
Court of Common Pleas for the District of Charleston, to 
vacate the charter of the bank on the ground that the bank 
had suspended specie payments of its bills and of deposits. 
The declaration recites the writ, then sets forth and alleges 
that the persons named therein, and their successors, were 
incorporated by an act of the General Assembly of the State 
of South Carolina, ratified on the 19th of December, 1801, 



132 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. > 

and recites the several acts amending the charter. The 
scire facias recites the privileges and franchises of the bank, 
and the use of the several liberties, privileges and franchises 
given to it by the act of incorporation, and then further 
alleges " that the president and directors, for the time being, 
of the said Bank of South Carolina, resolved to suspend the 
payment of gold and silver, legal current coin of the said 
State, as well as of all promissory notes and bills of credit 
in the nature of a circulating medium put forth and issued 
by the said Bank of South Carolina, and of all moneys re 
ceived and held by the said Bank of South Carolina on de 
posit, as of all other debts, dues, obligations and liabilities 
whatsoever of the said Bank of South Carolina, and then and 
there declared the determination of the said Bank of South 
Carolina to suspend and refuse the payment of gold or silver, 
legal current coin of the said State, of the promissory notes 
and bills of credit in the nature of a circulating medium of 
the said Bank of South Carolina, and of all moneys received 
and held by the said Bank of South Carolina on deposit; 
and that the said Bank of South Carolina from the 18th day 
of May, 1837, until the 1st day of September, 1838, . , . 
continually did refuse, on demand made at the banking 
house of the said Bank of South Carolina, ... to re 
deem or pay in gold or silver, legal current coin of the said 
State, the promissory notes and bills of credit in the nature 
of a circulating medium of the said Bank of South Carolina, 
which had been put forth and issued by the said Bank of 
South Carolina, and did then and there refuse to pay, in the 
said coin, the moneys received and held by the said Bank of 
South Carolina on deposit," etc. 

The scire facias then, in the same manner, alleged a sec 
ond suspension of specie payment on the 14th of October, 
1839, and from that day to the 21st of July, 1840, during 
which time the bank continued to do business, receive de- 



THE LAWYER. 183 

posits, discount notes and issue bills paying out only its own 
notes and the notes of other suspended banks. 

i." The scire facias lastly set forth that by an act of the Gen 
eral Assembly of said State, ratified on the 18th December, 
1840, entitled An act to provide against the suspension of 
specie payment by the banks of this State/ it was provided 
that the provisions of the said act should be and become a 
part of the charter of every bank already incorporated 
within the said State which had heretofore suspended the 
payment of its notes in legal coin, or which had declared 
its determination to refuse or suspend such payment, and 
that every such bank should, on or before the first day of 
March next, after the ratification of the said mentioned act, 
notify the Governor of said State of its acceptance of the 
provisions of the said act, and in case any such bank should 
neglect to give such notice, the said Governor should forth 
with cause legal proceedings to be instituted against such 
bank for the purpose of vacating and declaring void its 
charter. The scire facias averred that the bank did not ac 
cept the said act within the time specified," etc. 

To this declaration the defendants pleaded first, not 
guilty; second, that the bank at or between either of the 
times mentioned in the declaration did not, on demand 
made, refuse to redeem or pay in gold and silver, etc. a gen 
eral denial ; third, that the bank did not continually refuse 
to pay its depositors in gold or silver on demand ; fourth, 
"nul tiel record" as the charter alleged in the declaration; 
and, fifth, a special plea to-wit : 

The Bank of South Carolina saith that before the 18th of May, in the 
year 1837 that is to say, on the 1st day of May, in the year aforesaid 
the banks in New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Richmond, and Fay- 
etteville had suspended specie payments ; by reason whereof an extra 
ordinary scarcity and appreciation in value of gold and silver coin took 
place, whereby the payment of the notes of the Bank of South Can> 
olina, and of the debts due and owing by the said bank for deposits in 



134 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

gold and silver without delay became impossible; and the said, the 
Bank of South Carolina, in common with all the banks in Charleston, 
did resolve to suspend the ordinary redemption of their bills and the 
payment of their deposits in gold and silver until such time as the same 
could be done by solvent banks in good credit with safety to the coun 
try, as well they might. And that on the first day of September, in the 
year 1838, the said Bank of South Carolina resumed the ordinary pay 
ment of gold and silver, in satisfaction of their debts and liabilities 
without delay, until the 14th day of October, in the year 1839; and that 
before the last-mentioned day another general suspension of the banks 
in Philadelphia and Baltimore, and in the States of Virginia and North 
Carolina, as well as of the banks to the south and west of Charleston, 
with like effects, took place; that in consequence thereof the demand 
for gold and silver, in payment of bank notes and deposits in bank, be 
came and were extraordinary and irregular, having no reference to the 
quantity of paper in circulation or unto the credit or solvency of the 
banks on whom such demands were made, but solely to the drain of 
specie for foreign markets, and for the traffic in gold and silver carried 
on by persons trafficking in the precious metals; that the said Bank of 
South Carolina, on both the said last-mentioned days and years was, 
and from thence continually has been, a solvent company, having suffi 
cient means for the payment of its debts without any diminution of its 
capital stock; but by reason of the confusion of commercial affairs and 
extraordinary demands for coin, the said bank was not able to pay its 
dues and liabilities in gold and silver coin without making oppressive 
and ruinous exactions of its own debtors, and that under these circum 
stances the president and directors of the said bank, in common with 
divers other good and solvent banks of the city of Charleston, resolved 
to suspend the payment of gold and silver coin, etc. 
And that afterwards to-wit : on the 21st day of July, in the year 1840 
the said Bank of South Carolina, having all along kept in view the duty 
of paying their debts and liabilities in gold and silver coin, according 
to the law of the land, made their arrangements to accelerate, as far as 
in them lay, the day when the resumption of specie payments might be 
made, without great and material injury to all persons indebted to 
them, did resume the ordinary payment of specie in discharge of their 
dues and liabilities, and from thence have continued so to do, etc. 

The State joined issue on the first and fourth pleas and 
demurred specially to the second and third, on the grounds 
that each was pleaded in bar to the whole action and yet 
answered only a part of the matter charged in the declara 
tion; that they did not answer any part of them with cer- 



THE LAWYER. 135 

tainty, and that the substance of the matters charged in the 
declaration were neither confessed and avoided, traversed or 
denied, by either of the pleas, which were evasive, uncertain 
and wholly insufficient. The replication to the fifth plea, 
protesting that the matters contained in that plea were 
wholly insufficient in law, traversed the allegation therein; 
that the notes of the bank and its deposits were not depre 
ciated in value and lost to the holders and owners during the 
suspension. To this replication the bank demurred gener 
ally. 

The cause was argued upon the demurrers before Justice 
Butler at Charleston, during the May term of 1841, by Mr. 
Memminger, Mr. Burt and Attorney-General Bailey for the 
State, and by Mr. Petigru, Mr. Legare and Mr. Walker for 
the defendant. 

Judge Butler in an elaborate opinion delivered his judg 
ment in favor of the defendant, whereupon the Attorney- 
General, in behalf of the State, appealed from the judgment 
of the court. 

The writ of error in this cause sets forth eighteen grounds 
of exceptions to the judgment of the circuit court. I do not 
deem it necessary to place these several grounds of excep 
tion before the reader, as the argument of Mr. Memminger 
which follows will enable him to gather the points embraced 
in each of these. The appellate court consisted then of the 
several judges of the circuit courts, conformably to the pro 
visions of the act of 1831. The case was referred to the 
" court for the correction of errors," composed of all the 
chancellors and law judges. It was argued before that tri 
bunal in Charleston at the sittings in February, 1842, by 
Mr. Memminger, Mr. Hunt and Attorney-General Bailey for 
the State and Mr. Petigru and Mr. Walker for the defendant. 

No judgment was pronounced by the court, but a re* 
argument was ordered, which was had in Columbia at the 



136 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

May term of 1843, when the case was again argued by Mr. 
Memminger, Mr. Hunt and Attorney-General Bailey for the 
State, and Mr. Walker and Mr. King for the defendant. 

I am enabled to present the argument of Mr. Memminger 
as it is printed in a volume of reports by special act of the 
Legislature in 1844. It is as follows: 

Mr. Memminger, on behalf of the State, opened the argument by 
stating that it became the duty of the counsel for the State, in the first 
place, to extricate from the pleadings on the record, the questions which 
are to be decided by the court; and in doing so, they must premise that 
they have desired to meet these questions fairly; that they have an 
swered the special pleading of the defendants with replications intended, 
merely, to keep them to the real issue; and that if, as they believe, it 
will be found that the defendants themselves have become entangled 
by these pleadings, the counsel for the State design to make no further 
use of their advantage, than to bring back the court to the question 
raised by the scire facias, and to ask judgment only upon the broad 
proposition, that by suspending specie payments, the bank has forfeited 
its charter. 

The allegations of the declaration on the scire facias, then, must 
make out, by proper averments, a sufficient cause of forfeiture of the 
charter. In point of fact, the declaration sets forth what is usually 
termed a suspension of specie payments by alleging four distinct facts: 

1. That the Bank of South Carolina having received a charter as a 
bank, and having issued a large amount of notes as a circulating me 
dium, payable in gold and silver, and accepted a large amount of de 
posits payable also in gold and silver, afterwards resolved to suspend 
the payment of these notes and deposits in gold and silver coin. 2. That 
tlie said bank publicly declared this its determination. 3. That it 
actually refused to pay its notes and deposits in current coin for a long 
space of time ; and, 4, that during such space of time it nevertheless 
continued to do business under its charter as a bank, making discounts, 
receiving deposits, issuing notes and declaring dividends among its 
stockholders. 

The declaration then charges a repetition of the same acts, after a 
temporary resumption of specie payments. And the simple question of 
law raised by these allegations is whether these acts make out a cause 
of forfeiture, or in other words, whether such a suspension of a bank, 
confessedly without actual fraud, is a sufficient ground in law to declare 
the charter forfeited. In any view of the pleadings which may be taken, 
coming up as they now do before the court upon a general demurrer, 



THE LAWYER 137 

tho sufficiency of the first pleading must necessarily be the first ques 
tion. This presents the very point which the counsel for the State desire 
to have adjudged; and if the court shall be of opinion that such sus 
pension is not cause of forfeiture, the other pleadings need not be inves 
tigated. But if, as our case undertakes to prove, the court should think 
that it is cause of forfeiture, it then becomes our duty to proceed fur 
ther, and show to the court how the remaining pleadings have affected 
the form in which the question is presented. 

The first plea of the defendant is not guilty, and seems to be predi 
cated upon the idea of a general issue. It would not be difficult, per 
haps, to show that such a plea is inconsistent with this form of action, 
and cannot be sustained. But proceeding upon the rule above stated, 
the counsel for the State conceived that as the plea could do no more 
than refer the facts averred to the verdict of a jury, and left the ques 
tion of law precisely where it stood, they should make no objection to 
the plea, and they have, therefore, joined issue upon it. This plea, 
therefore, stands for trial by a jury, and is not involved in the present 
argument. 

The second and third pleas each profess to answer the whole declara 
tion; but the second avers only that the bank did not continually refuse 
to pay their notes in current coin ; and the third avers that they did not 
continually refuse to pay their deposits in current coin. 

It is a rule of pleading, that where a plea is offered in bar to the 
whole action, it must answer the whole allegation, except only in those 
cases where the allegation passed by is wholly immaterial or of matter 
of aggravation merely. Stephen s PI. 215-217. 1 Chitty s PL 554. 1 Now, 
the allegations of the declaration are : First, that the defendants resolved 
to suspend; second, that they published this resolution ; third, that they 
refused to pay both notes and deposits; and, fourth, that they still con 
tinued to do business and divide profits as a bank. The second plea, 
therefore, which merely avers that they did not refuse to pay their notes t 
denies only a part of the third allegation, and gives no answer whatever 
to the other allegations ; and vice versa, the third plea, while denying a 
refusal to pay deposits, says nothing as to the notes or any of the other 
allegations. The allegations thus left unanswered cannot certainly be 
considered immaterial, for they constitute the very foundation of the 
action. 

So, too, it is anoth er rule of pleading that whatever is not traversed 
or avoided is confessed. Stephen, 217. The second plea, therefore, 

1 As there are various editions of Chitty and Stephen, each differing both in matter and 
arrangement from the other, it will be as well to mention that the editions cited in thi.* argu 
ment are of Chitty the Gth American from the 5th London edition, printed in Springfield iq 
1833; and of Stephen, the 3d American from the 3d London edition, printed in Philadelphia 
in 1837. The references are to the English or marginal paging. 



138 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

which traverses only the refusal to pay notes, virtually admits the re 
fusal to pay deposits; and the third plea, on the other hand, by travers 
ing only the refusal to pay deposits, confesses the refusal to pay notes; 
and so it follows that taking both pleas together, all the allegations in 
the scire facias are confessed by the defendants pleading. 

Besides these objections, the word continually inserted in the pleas 
makes them both bad. It is no answer to an allegation that A owes B 
one hundred pounds, to aver that B does not owe the said one hundred 
pounds, but the plea must add, " or any part thereof." The allegation 
is, that the bank suspended during the whole time stated: the answer 
is, that they did not suspend during the whole time; thus making the 
time and not the suspension, the matter put in issue. This traverse, 
therefore, comes within that class of traverses which are said in law to 
be too large; and they are bad according to all the authorities: 1 
Chitty, 647. Stephen, 224. Colborne v. Stockdale, 1 Str. 493. Cro. Eliz. 
84. 3 Bos. and Pul. 348. 

To have suffered these pleas to remain would have been to entangle 
the question and divided the issues to the detriment of the State; and 
the counsel for the State have, therefore, demurred specially to them, 
and it is conceived that this demurrer has disposed of both of them, and 
that no further notice need be taken of either. 

The fourth plea is substantially a plea of nul tiel record, and as it 
does no more than to bring the charter under the judicial inspection of 
the court, the purpose of the State is accomplished, by making no ob 
jection to the plea. 

The fifth plea seems to be that upon which the defendants intend to 
rely, and it will, therefore, require a more minute examination. It ap 
pears to have been conceived in the nature of a special traverse, one of 
the most subtle and technical forms of pleading. It alleges: 1. That 
before the suspension of specie payments in Charleston the banks in 
.New York and elsewhere had suspended, and thereby created an ex 
traordinary scarcity of specie, whereby the payment of notes and deposits 
by the defendants became impossible. 2. That the two suspensions by the 
Northern banks, as well as by banks elsewhere, rendered the demand for 
gold and silver extraordinary and irregular, having no reference to the 
quantity of specie in circulation or to the credit or solvency of the banks, 
and that the defendant was solvent, but unable, by reason of this extra 
ordinary demand for coin, to pay in gold and silver without ruinous 
exactions of its own debtors. 3. That during the suspension the notes 
issued by the defendants were not greater in amount than was allowed 
by the charter or than it was ordinarily prudent to issue. And 4, that 
neither the notes nor deposits were lost or depreciated to the holders or 
owners of them. The plea then concludes w r ith an absque hoc that the 
said suspensions are in violation of any rules or conditions in the char- 



THE LAWYER. 139 

ter, or to the perversion of the ends, objects and purposes of the corpo 
ration. 

To ascertain the proper mode of replying to the multifarious allega 
tions of this plea it becomes necessary to examine into its nature, and in 
this inquiry the court will have reason to thank Mr. Stephen for the very 
clear elucidation which his work on pleading affords of this intricate and 
perplexed form of pleading. All pleas in bar must be by way of traverse 
or by way of confession and avoidance. Stephen, 137. To which of these 
does the fifth plea belong ? Its matter would seem to place it among 
pleas of confession and avoidance, but its form is technically that which 
is termed a special traverse. The absque hoc at the end of it fixes its 
character and compels us to consider it in that form, in which the 
defendants have chosen to put it; and the result, to which our exami 
nation into it as a special traverse will conduct us, would be substan 
tially the same if it be treated as a plea of confession and avoidance, for 
in this latter case the matter of avoidance could be replied to in plead 
ing precisely as we have replied to the special traverse. 

A special traverse consists of two parts the inducement and the 
alsque hoc, or denial. The inducement is an allegation of new affirma 
tive matter indirectly denying the adverse pleading, but amounting, in 
fact, to a complete denial. The absque hoc is intended to deny in form 
that which the inducement has substantially but only indirectly denied. 
See the instances put in Stephen, 165, 168, 172, 174 ; 1 Chitty s PL 655. The 
formal denial contained in the absque hoc is intended to avoid that rule 
of pleading which would condemn the inducement as a mere argumenta 
tive pleading on account of its inferential and indirect character. The 
design of a traverse is to put the parties at once at issue, for it is a rule 
that to a special traverse well pleaded there can be no further pleading, 
either by way of confession and avoidance or by way of traverse, but the 
adverse party is compelled to join issue. Stephen, 188. 

And this renders obvious the reason why the law has laid it down as 
an essential rule in relation to these traverses that the inducement must 
be a complete denial of the allegation on the other side. Stephen, 189. 
Is this rule complied with by the fifth plea ? Which of the four allega 
tions in the declaration does this plea deny ? Is it denied that the bank 
refused payment of its notes, or deposits, or resolved to suspend specie 
payments, or published their resolution, or carried on business as a bank 
while in this state of suspension ? These allegations are, in fact, admit 
ted, and it is pleaded in extenuation, or by way of excuse, or justifica 
tion, that a certain state of things existed which excused the default. 
This is the precise character of what would be held a plea of justification, 
and not a traverse at all, and the plea is therefore a direct violation of 
the distinction which the law makes between traverses and pleas of con 
fession and avoidance. It also conflicts with another positive rule of 



140 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGEU. 

law, which declares that the traverse is bad if the inducement be in the 
nature of confession and avoidance. Stephen, 185. 

But let us consider whether the inducement is substantially any ans 
wer to the declaration, even if the defendants be allowed to waive the 
form in which they have chosen to present it. Surely it cannot be gravely 
contended that because the banks elsewhere suspended specie payments 
that furnishes a justification for suspensions here. If the plea had 
averred positively, what it avers arguendo, that it became impossible to 
pay, then an inquiry might have been instituted as to such impossibility 
by joining issue upon it as a fact. 

The second matter of excuse urged by the inducement is that gold 
and silver became so much appreciated in relation to paper that it could 
not be paid without ruinous exactions upon the debtors of the bank. If 
this be urged as a legal defense it would change the whole character of 
courts of justice. How, as a matter of law, is it to be ascertained whether 
gold and silver had appreciated, when they are themselves the only meas 
ures of value. In fact, the question as to this appreciation involves the 
whole political question as to suspensions and will be considered whp.n 
the main question is discussed. And in what manner would the court 
proceed to ascertain whether the exactions from the debtors of the bank 
are ruinous or not ? Supposing that such an inquiry could lead to anv- 
thing approximating legal certainty, can it be gravely urged that 
because the fulfilment of its contracts by the bank would lead to its 
injury, therefore it is excused from its performance ? And yet that is 
the substance of this portion of the plea. 

Take the next fact alleged in this plea, and let us ascertain how f&r 
it affords an answer to the declaration. It is said that the bank issued 
no more notes than it was allowed by its charter to issue, or than it was 
ordinarily prudent to be issued. If the bank issued no more notes than 
the charter allowed, then it is unnecessary to plead that fact at all as a 
defense, because the scire facias undertakes to prove that they violated 
their charter. But if it be intended to offer this allegation as a defense 
for their refusal to pay their deposits, or for their continuance to make 
profits and pay dividends while in a state of suspension, it is obvious 
that it cannot avail as a plea, as it leaves these material charges entirely 
unanswerable. 

The next fact asserted in this plea is that neither the notes nor deposits 
in bank were lost, or depreciated, to the holders. This assertion alone, 
of all the others, the counsel for the State deemed of any importance ; 
and but for the admission of its truth, which would be implied by a de 
murrer, they would have filed a general demurrer to the whole plea. 
But not being willing to concede so important a fact, which they could 
readily disprove, they have availed themselves of the departure of the 
defendants from technical rules, to bring them back to the real issue. 



THE LA WYER. 141 

For it is laid down as one of the leading rules in relation to special 
traverses that the absque hoc must be a denial of the/aci alleged in the 
opposite pleading. Stephen, 184, 187. And if it be taken upon matter 
of law, it may be passed by, and a new traverse taken upon the induce 
ment. Stephen, 191, 188. Now the absque hoc of this plea traverses no 
fact at all ; it says absque hoc that the said suspensions are in violation 
of any rules, etc., in the charter, or to the perversion of the ends, etc., of 
the institution. This is a traverse purely of matter of law. It ought, 
in terms, to have denied the four special allegations of fact in the dec 
laration ; but instead of taking that course, it has undertaken to tra 
verse the conclusion which the law would draw from those facts. The 
result is, that under the rule above cited the State is at liberty to pass 
by the traverse, and to take issue upon the inducement, or such part of 
it as is deemed material. This has been done by the replication to the 
fifth plea, and the defendants have demurred to that replication. If 
this demurrer be sustained, the court must then pronounce upon the 
legal efficacy of the plea itself; and, if overruled, as the counsel for the 
State insist that it must be, then there is added to the allegations in the 
declaration an admission, on the record, that the notes and deposits of 
the bank were depreciated or lost in the hands of the holders. 

The State has, therefore, by its pleading secured, at all events, the 
trial of the main question, and what has been gained, in addition thereto, 
by the failure of the defendants pleading, the counsel for the State 
freely waive, conceiving that they will better discharge their duty to 
the country by fairly trying the main issue, rather than by insisting 
upon any technical advantage in this particular case. We are, there 
fore, brought to consider the main question, without being trammelled 
in any degree by the pleadings. 

I proceed, then, to the great question in this case, whether an incor 
porated bank forfeits its charter by a suspension of specie payments; 
and, in arguing this question, I propose to establish, consecutively, the 
following propositions: 

1. That to every charter of incorporation there is annexed a tacit 
condition that such charter becomes forfeited whenever the corporation 
ceases to perform the trusts for which it was created, or abuses the 
powers or privileges conferred upon it. 

2. That banking corporations, as they exist in this country, embrace 
three essential elements, constituting the primary objects of their for 
mation : first, discounting bills and making loans; second, receiving 
and paying out deposits; and, third, issuing notes in the nature of cur 
rency. 

3. That a suspension of specie payments defeats two of the primary 
objects or ends for which banks are created, and indirectly perverts the 
third; that it destroys the character of a bank as an institution for 



142 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. NEMMINGER. 

receiving and paying deposits ; removes the only barrier against abuses 
of currency; imposes upon the community an unsound, depreciated, 
and inconvertible paper medium, and re-acts upon the discounts of the 
bank by compelling them to be made in the same depreciated medium. 

4. That the primary objects or ends for which banks were chartered 
being thus defeated, and the franchises and powers granted being thus 
misused or abused, the condition implied for the protection of the pub 
lic is broken, and the charter becomes forfeited. 

1. But for the strenuous effort made on the other side to establish 
that a bank charter is no franchise, I should have deemed it unneces 
sary to do more than state the proposition from which our argument 
starts, that corporate existence is itself a franchise, and that every 
charter of incorporation, whether of a banking company or any other 
association, is the grant of a franchise, and subject to the condition im 
plied in all such grants. We do not mean by a franchise, neither does 
the law intend by the term, merely that class of franchises which are 
placed in the text-books in the same category with waifs, wrecks, or even 
escheats; but we include every grant from the government, through 
any of its branches, of a privilege which gives to one citizen, or one set 
of citizens, rights or immunities which vary their position from that of 
the general mass. Our position is, that government is instituted for 
the good of the public, and is, therefore, a public trust ; that a distinc 
tion created between the citizens can only be legitimately made when 
its object is the public benefit ; and that a grant, therefore, which creates 
such distinction must assume that the grantee is to furnish to the public 
the consideration in some form. The grant of a charter of incorporation 
to certain individuals has, usually, the effect of exempting them per 
sonally from those actions to which, without such charter, they would 
have been liable. They cannot be held to bail; their bodies cannot be 
arrested ; nor can their estates be charged in execution. They have a 
perpetual existence, under their newly created form, and may sue and 
be sued, without any of the embarrassments to which their unchartered 
neighbors are exposed. They thus have certain privileges and. exemp 
tions which are derived from their charter ; and this is precisely what, 
according to our view of the matter, the law means by a franchise or 
privilege. 

This view of the subject is not only sustained by elementary writers, 
2 Bl. Com. 37, 3 Kent s Com. 459, but it has the support of the Supreme 
Court of the United States in the celebrated case of Dartmouth College 
v. "Woodward, 4 Wheat. 657. In that case a charter of incorporation is 
expressly declared to be a franchise, and is put upon the footing of a 
contract executed between the public and the corporators, and protected 
as a contract by the Constitution of the United States. In this contract 
the public are one of the parties; and the consideration to be furnished 



THE LAWYER. 143 

by the corporation is, therefore, to the public. It is generally some 
great public advantage which it is proposed to afford; such as the ad 
vantages to traveling and intercommunication offered by a railroad or 
bridge ; or to education by a college ; or to commerce and currency by 
a bank. The corporation undertakes to afford to the public these ad 
vantages as the consideration for the privilege of being made a corpora 
tion, and consequently becomes, as it were, a trustee of this considera 
tion for the use of the public. Hence, in Comyn s Digest, Franchises, 
G. 3, it is distinctly called a trust; and Lord Holt and Mr. Justice Bul- 
ler placed corporations upon the same footing in the cases hereafter to 
be cited. 

It follows, from the law in relation to all franchises, that if the cor 
poration abuse this trust, or fail to perform the objects for which it was 
created, its franchise of being a corporation may be forfeited. The con 
sideration has failed, or the trustee has abused his trust, and so the con 
tract may be rescinded, and the privilege which the public had granted 
may be resumed. 

This proposition has been asserted, in terms, by every elementary 
writer who treats of the subject ; and it has the sanction of every court 
before which it has been brought in judgment. Com. Dig. Franchises, 
G. 3. Bac. Abr. Corporations, G. 1 Bl. Com. 485. 2 Kyd on Corp. 474, 
512. 

In the courts it was established by the great case of the city of Lon 
don, which, although open to condemnation on other accounts, is good 
authority on this the more especially as it was confirmed after the Rev 
olution by the case of Sir James Smith, 8 Cobbett s State Trials, 1343, in 
note and in Rex v. Amery, 2 T. R. 515; in Rex v. Pasmore, 3 T. R. 199; 
and in Colchester v. Seaber, 3 Burr. 1866. 

So, too, the authorities in the United States are equally conclusive. 
In the Supreme Court of the United States, in the case of Terrett v. Tay 
lor, 9 Cranch, 43, it is distinctly laid down that a private corporation 
created by the Legislature may lose its franchises by a misuser or non- 
user of them ; and that they may be resumed by the government under 
a judicial judgment to enforce the forfeiture. This, says Mr. Justice 
Story, is the common law of the land, and is a tacit condition annexed 
to the creation of every such corporation. This doctrine is repeated in 
the same court in the case of Mumma v. The Potomac Company, 8 Pe 
ters, 281. 

In our own State the same doctrine is announced in White v. City 
Council, 2 Hill, 576. In New York it has been repeatedly asserted : 
Slee v. Bloom, 5 Johns. Ch. R 380, 19 Johns. 456; The People v. Bank of 
Niagara, 6 Cowen, 209; and in two other cases in the same book, pp. 
216, 219. In Massachusetts it is affirmed in two cases in 5 Mass. Rep. 
230 and 420. In Vermont, in The People v. The Society for Propagating 



144 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER., 

the Gospel, 1 Paine C. C. Rep. 656. In Maryland in the Canal Company 
v. Railroad Company, 4 Gill. & Johns. 122. And in Indiana, in the case 
of the State v. The State Bank, 1 Blackford s Rep. 267. 

It is then clear that a charter of incorporation may be forfeited 
whenever the corporation abuses the trust upon which it was created, 
or the powers and privileges with which it is invested, or fails to accom 
plish the ends and purposes for which the public granted the franchise 
of being a corporation. 

The question then which we are discussing becomes changed in form 
and resolves itself into an inquiry, whether the Bank of South Carolina 
has thus abused its powers, or failed to fulfil the ends or purposes for 
which it was created. 

2. And this inquiry leads us directly to ascertain in the next place 
what are the ends or purposes contemplated and intended by the grant 
of a bank charter. 

These may be ascertained in this case with sufficient distinctness 
from the various clauses of the charter. But it is not at all necessary 
that the charter should say a word on the subject. Usage and common 
understanding ascertain these points with a reasonable certainty. 
Thus in the grant of the charter of a ferry, or bridge, or church, no one 
would be at a loss to declare what public objects were contemplated; 
and, with equal certainty, a mere charter for a bank would imply the 
objects intended by the grant. 

In the work of Angel & Ames on Corporations, this principle is con 
firmed at page 59, 145. And in the same work at page 132, the ends or 
purposes implied in a bank charter are stated. But in the case of the 
New York Firemen Insurance Company v. Ely, 2 Covven, 711, these ends 
are more authoritatively declared. In that case it is expressly declared 
that a grant of banking powers implies that the bank is to exercise 
three functions or powers: 1, to discount notes and bills; 2, to re 
ceive deposits; and 3, to issue bank notes in the nature of currency. 

Upon examining the charter of this bank it will be found in the va 
rious clauses that all three of these powers were distinctly expected by 
both parties to be exercised by the bank. 

They are all of great importance to society, and are absolutely neces 
sary to a commercial community; and the fact that no bank has ever 
existed in this country without exercising them all, would seem to be 
conclusive in establishing the intention of the parties, and the usual 
meaning of a bank. No institution in this country which should 
merely discount paper should ever be called a bank; neither would 
such a term be applied to a mere place of deposit. In fact, a deposit 
bank merely would be an anomalous institution, in which expense 
must be voluntarily incurred for the benefit of the public without any 
compensation ; a thing unknown in the present circumstances of man- 



THE LAWYER. 145 

kind. It is in connection with the power to issue notes in the nature of 
currency, that the other functions become valuable; and it is this last 
power which offers the chief inducement to every bank, and without 
which their charters as banks would never have been asked or accepted. 

3. We will be enabled then to advance our argument by considering 
thirdly, the effect of a suspension of specie payments upon each of these 
great functions which the bank has undertaken to perform, and by as 
certaining whether the trust confided to the bank has been abused or 
fulfilled in each or any of them. 

And first, as to making discounts. A suspension of specie payment 
is a confession by the bank that specie is more valuable than its notes. 
Before a suspension specie is exchanged on demand for these notes . 
After the suspension they refuse to pay specie in exchange for their 
notes. An individual then who receives a discount from a bank in si- 
state of suspension delivers to the bank his own note, which, by law, is 
payable in coin, and receives from the bank its notes in exchange, with 
out any diminution for their depreciated state. Throughout the whole 
course of the suspension the banks paid out their notes upon discounts 
at precisely the same rates as though they were exchangeable for coin; 
and the individual who received them had at once to submit to a loss of 
from three to ten per cent, to convert them into a legal currency. 
This, according to the decision of the Supreme Court of the United^. 
States, was a usurious transaction, and a plain violation of their char 
ters. See Gaither v. Farmers Bank, 1 Peters, 41. Bank of the United 
States v. Owens, 2 Peters. 527. 

The only measure of value which can be applied to money transac 
tions is coin; and a party making a loan, and paying in depreciated 
paper, as though it were at par, actually receives, in addition to the legal 
interest, the difference between coin and the depreciated paper. Dis 
counting in this manner by a suspended bank, therefore, not only vio 
lates its charter, but holds out the strongest inducement to the bank to 
continue such violation of the trust confided to them. If the bank be 
solvent, and capable of acting otherwise, it is a wilful perversion of tha 
power entrusted to it, to make discounts for the accommodation of the 
public; and if the bank be insolvent, then it is a fraud upon the public 
to make discounts, or to continue to do any business, which increases 
its liabilities, and more especially where dividends are paid to the 
stockholders. In either case it comes clearly within .the rule of for 
feiture. 

But, further, so completely is this public trust perverted by a suspen 
sion of specie payments, that what, under other circumstances, would 
be a public benefit, is converted into a nuisance. The admitted proxi 
mate cause of all suspensions is a redundant paper currency; and the 
obvious remedy is, to prune this redundancy; to reduce the over issues 



146 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

to the legitimate standard; to stop new business; and diminish the old. 
In this state of things, if the bank make a discount, an addition is 
necessarily made to the already redundant issues; and new poison is 
thus sent forth into the body politic, through the very organ which was 
created to give life and health to its action. 

Secondly, let us next proceed to consider the effect of a suspension of 
specie payments upon the objects contemplated in the function of re 
ceiving deposits. 

By the law of the land, as established in The Bank of Kentucky v. 
Wister, 2 Peters, 318, every deposit is payable in gold and silver. But 
the first effect of a suspension, it is plain, must be the depreciation of 
bank notes below the standard of coin ; and the individual, therefore, 
who is paid by the bank with depreciated notes, for a deposit, which he 
is entitled to receive in coin, is actually subjected to a loss of the differ 
ence in value between the notes and the coin ; whilst the bank makes a 
profit of that difference at his expense. 

It is said, that the individual is not bound to submit to the loss, but 
may, by an appeal to the laws, receive his payment in legal coin. This 
answer is mere mockery of a most disastrous condition, and, when ex 
amined, evinces still more strongly the necessity of public interference. 
By force of the charters of the banks themselves, and of the privileges 
which they enjoy, the business of the country becomes concentrated in 
them. All other currency disappears ; and while these institutions ex 
ist, all the specie in the country becomes absorbed in their vaults. No 
one finds it an object to undertake discounts, or receive deposits; and 
the accumulation of capital, caused by the grant of the bank charters, 
in the banks themselves, drives every other competitor from the market. 
They thus become the sole channels, through which the circulation is car 
ried on, and, in virtue of the public confidence, become possessed of all 
the circulating medium, either as depositaries, or as issuers. In this 
state of things, to propose to the individual, to leave with the bank his 
deposit, or to hold their notes until they are sued, is virtually to bid all 
business cease, and to paralyze every limb in the body politic. The bank 
has got the advantage, and the individual is compelled to submit to its 
terms. And this is the very case which calls most loudly for the inter 
vention of public justice. For the Stats itself has been the innocent 
cause of the mischief, by creating such institutions, and giving them 
power to produce such a condition of things ; and the State alone is able 
to cope with them. The individual, for the time, particularly amidst 
the confused and disastrous trials which accompany a suspension, is 
bound hand and foot, and must yield to the necessity of the case. Under 
these circumstances, it is a moral necessity which controls the depositor. 
The law is too slow to help him, and he is in fact so hemmed in by cir 
cumstances, as to be glad to get his deposit upon any terms. 



THE LAWYER. 147 

But how stands the case between the bank and the public ? Is this a 
discharge of the trust reposed in the bank ? Is this a just exercise of 
the power confided to it, of providing for the country a proper place of 
deposit for their money ? Is it not, in fact, a perversion of the end of the 
institution? And consider the effect during a state of suspension. 
Would any individual venture to deposit coin in a bank, which had pub 
lished a declaration that it would no longer redeem its obligation in 
coin? As a place of deposit, then, the bank no longer exists; and the 
merchant is left suddenly to seek elsewhere, that safe place of deposit 
for his moneys, which the bank undertook to supply, as a consideration 
for its charter. If it be said, that the bank continues to receive notes 
on deposit, the answer is, that this is but a portion of its duty, and fur 
nishes no excuse for the failure as to its other duty. 

But even as to receiving notes on deposit, this is a fallacious defense. 
So long as there is some standard of value every one is able to proceed 
upon certainty. A note for one hundred dollars means one hundred sil 
ver dollars. But when that standard is rejected and a deposit is received 
by a bank of one hundred dollars in paper, according to what rate shall 
that deposit be paid out ? The notes of the bank itself fluctuate from 
day to day. So also do the notes of other banks. In fact, they are no 
longer currency, but have become articles of commerce, and the deposi 
tor must now take the hazard of a speculation in which of these articles 
it may please the bank to return him his deposit. Is this the state of 
things which the public intended by granting the charter for a bank of 
deposit ? Is this a fulfilment of the end of its institution ? Is this a per 
formance of the trust upon which the bank was created ? Most assuredly 
it cannot be so regarded. 

I come now, in the third place, to consider the last and most impor 
tant end for which banks are created by public authority. 

The Bank of South Carolina was chartered as far back as the year 
1800, while the country was yet fully mindful of all those evils which 
had been inflicted upon it by a disordered currency. The extreme 
suffering which had been undergone from continental money, bills 
of credit and paper medium had opened the eyes of all to the great 
advantages of a sound currency. It had been found, after all trials, that 
none could be relied upon unless immediately convertible into gold 
and silver. The inducement, therefore, which banks held out, of 
supplying so important a want, drew at once, from the public, cor 
responding grants of privileges; and in every section of the Union, 
a bank-note currency, immediately convertible into coin, became the 
established medium of trade. Such a currency was found more 
convenient even than coin, and its regulation and management was 
yielded up to the banks, and became a great public trust in their hands. 
This view of the subject is taken by Mr. Justice Spencer, in deliver- 



1 48 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

ing his opinion in the case of the TJtica Insurance Company, 15 Johns. 386, 
and he expressly calls this power to issue notes a great public trust. 

In South Carolina it is placed by the law upon the high ground of 
a special privilege. By the act of 1814, all corporations are prohibi 
ted from issuing notes in the nature of currency, except where such 
power is given to chartered banks. 8 Sts. at Large, 33, 4. And the 
result is, that the banks enjoy a right, which is denied to every other 
corporation; amounting in precise terms, to what we have termed 
a franchise, or privilege, for the exercise of which the bank is responsi 
ble. And so it was adjudged, under the New York banking law, in the 
case already cited of the TJtica Insurance Company. 

The nature and value of this bank-note currency may still further be 
shown by considering the footing which it had acquired in law. 
In Miller v. Race, 1 Bur. 457, Lord Mansfield declares bank notes to be 
money as much so as a guinea, and to the same effect is the declaration 
of Lord Ellenborough in Knight v. Criddle, 9 East, 48; so in New York 
in Handy v. Dobbin, 12 Johns, R. 220; and the same view of the subject 
is taken in United States Bank v. Bank of Georgia, 10 Wheat, 346. In 
the case, too, of Briscoe v. Bank of Kentucky, 11 Peters, 258, so high is 
the footing upon which Mr. Justice Story in his dissenting opinion puts 
them, and so near to actual coin, that he considers the banks unconsti 
tutional which exercise the right of issuing them. 

Again there is another class of cases which declare that bank notes are 
a legal tender in payment of debts, unless specially objected to at the 
time a privilege which has never been allowed to individual notes. In 
fact, the whole course of trade had established it as the understanding 
of all that payments between individuals were always expected to be 
made in bank notes, and thus has placed them upon the footing of an 
acknowledged currency. 

Such being the rank which bank notes held in the affairs and busi 
ness of the country, the undertaking to furnish them as a currency, was, 
manifestly, the grand object at which the public aimed in creating 
banks. Few persons are aware of the great expense to which the coun 
try willingly subjects itself for the attainment of this most desirable 
end; and as the inquiry is germain to the main argument before us, it 
is proper to bring this point, although a political subject, to the view of 
the court. It will enable them to measure the magnitude of the inter 
ests involved. 

In the issue of bank notes, a bank changes its character from being 
a lender, to becoming a borrower, of money. Every bank note in the 
pocket of an individual is, in fact, a loan by him of its amount to the 
bank, until he passes it to some other person ; and then it becomes in the 
same manner, a loan from him to whom it is passed. The result is, that 
the whole amount of notes, issued by the banks, is so much borrowed by 



THE LAWYER. 149 

them from a part of the public at large, and without interest ; and this 
amount the banks lend to another portion of the public at the rate of 
six per cent, interest. 

These two portions of the public, it will be perceived, stand entirely 
in different relations to the bank; and inasmuch as the borrowers from 
the banks are much fewer in number than those who hold their notes, 
the latter constitute much the largest portion of the community. Those 
who borrow from the bank, too, it may be fairly assumed, make, from 
some source of profit, the interest which they pay for the loan, and so 
receive a compensation. But that larger portion of the community, 
which hold the notes of the banks as a currency, are losing the interest 
thereon, without any return, and therefore bear the whole burthen of 
this currency. The banks themselves reap a profit upon the whole, the 
sole consideration for which is, the soundness of the currency which 
they undertake to furnish. 

It is this profit which furnishes the inducement to banking. At the 
time of the suspension, the issues of the banks in Charleston amounted, 
together, to about $3,700,000, the annual interest of which is $222,000. 
If to this be added the issues of the country banks, the aggregate is 
about $6,000,000, bearing an annual interest of $360,000. And thus an 
amount nearly equal to the whole general taxes of the State is paid by 
the community to the banks every year, for which no sort of equivalent 
is received, but the benefits which the State is supposed to derive from 
them as banking corporations. 

Even to this large sum should be added something more for the 
deposits which stand in each bank ; for, in relation to the community, 
the banks are also debtors for the deposits; and as they pay no interest 
on them, they stand in the same relation with the issues under another 
name. The statements furnished upon which these calculations are 
based do not enable us to ascertain how much of the issues of one 
bank are included in the deposits in another. I have, therefore, not 
undertaken to unite this uncertainty with what is certain upon the other 
calculation. But it is plain that as at the time of the suspension these 
deposits amounted to three million of dollars, something more should 
be. added; and the total profits which the banks in South Carolina were 
actually deriving from the community at the time of the suspension 
must have amounted to at least $400,000. 

Surely, then, the State must have set a high value upon this pub 
lic trust when they were content to pay more for its discharge than 
for the whole machinery of the State government. The benefit expected 
in return from the banks consists in maintaining a sound currency, 
and removing the evils which had been suffered under the system of 
bills of credit. It is true that by no process could the State free itself 
from every part of this burthen ; for, if the currency were specie alone. 



150 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. Q. MEMMINGER. 

still there must be a loss of interest on the amount of coin in actual cir 
culation. And so in a bank which maintains specie payments, there 
must be an offset for the coin necessarily kept on hand to meet de 
mands for specie. But a bank in a state of suspension declares that it 
has no such offset to offer; and the suspension itself releases them from 
the necessity of holding such unproductive capital. 

It would seem demonstrated, then, that the great end and purpose/ 
contemplated by the public in granting a bank charter, is the attain 
ment of a sound, convertible bank-note currency ; and that to create 
and preserve such a currency is the great public trust which the bank 
has undertaken to furnish as a consideration for the grant. What then 
is the chief, in fact, the only means of keeping such a currency sound? 
It is answered on every side, immediate convertibility into coin. This 
presents the only test of soundness; the only check to over issues; and 
while it continues to be applied, a bank-note currency so entirely satis 
fies the public demands that it displaces every other; and all specie of 
the country becomes either absorbed by the banks, or, if they are tempted 
to over issues, it is driven from the market of the country. 

"When the banks, therefore, suspend payment in specie, they volun 
tarily put aside the only means of preserving the very currency which 
they undertook to keep sound; and they compel the public, from the 
necessity of the case, to receive and circulate the currency which they 
have thus impaired. If they have any coin on hand, and refuse to pay 
it, they refuse to apply the very remedy needed; for, by paying coin 
they would at once apply two means of cure : they would thereby with 
draw some of the redundant paper, and at the same time supply the 
demand for coin. Indeed, it is affirmed by very competent judges 
that the second suspension in Charleston could easily have been pre 
vented by the banks paying out freely from the coin which they then 
had on hand. The actual demand was so small that it could easily have 
been met. But the refusal to pay, of itself, created a factitious demand 
by impairing confidence and deranging anew the whole course of 
trade. 

This is not the place to enlarge upon the evils which a suspension of 
specie payments inflicts upon the country. The experience of the last 
six years has written these evils in characters too deep to be easily for 
gotten ; and it is only necessary to ask the questions, whether a suspen 
sion of specie payments does not entirely pervert, or destroy, the end 
which the State contemplated in creating a bank of issues? and whether 
the failure to preserve a sound currency is not a breach of the trust 
upon which the bank was created ? There can be but one answer to 
these questions. 

The bank, then, by a suspension of specie payments, is shown to have 
failed in all the essential ends for which it was created. It has perverted 



THE LA WYER. 151 

and abused the power to discount; it has failed to perform the trust of 
furnishing a place of deposit for the moneys of the country ; and instead 
of a sound convertible currency, it has visited the community with all 
the evils of an irredeemable paper currency. It has, in fact, plunged 
the country back into the very evils, from which it was intended that 
the banks should relieve them. 

4. The last of the four propositions which I proposed to establish in 
the argument of the main question in this case, follows, as a necessary 
consequence of the delinquency, which has thus been made out. The 
charter of incorporation has become forfeited; the tacit condition is 
broken ; and the State, by the law of the land, may now resume her 
grant under a judicial judgment upon this scire facias. 

Objections. 1. But it is objected that the charter in express terms has 
placed the notes of the bank upon the same footing with those of indi 
viduals ; and, therefore, that no other remedies can be used against the 
bank, but those which the law allows against individuals. 

This objection rests upon a fallacy which confounds the State remedy 
with the individual remedy. The clause of the charter which is referred 
to merely contemplated the liability of the bank to individuals. At 
the date of this charter the law was settled that a corporation must 
contract under seal; and when the charter allowed the corporation to 
contract by bills, under the hands of its officers, it created a new kind 
of obligation, the character of which it became necessary to define. 
The clause which created this new species of obligation, is the one now 
under consideration, and it merely declares, that under such an obliga 
tion, the bank should be liable in the same manner as an individual 
upon a note of hand. 

It would be contrary, then, to every rule of sound construction to 
imply that such an enactment thus made was intended to deprive the 
State of a great political power; nay, more, to renounce a paramount 
public duty. The contract between the State and the corporators in 
the charter, is a totally different contract from any which is formed, 
afterwards between the corporation and strangers. The remedies for 
their breach are altogether different. The charter does not attempt to 
prescribe the public remedy. It leaves that to the common law. It did 
not need to be prescribed, as by the very words of the law the charter 
is held upon a tacit, not an expressed condition. 

In fact, it would amount to a tyranny intolerable, under our institu 
tions, for the State to create great moneyed corporations, and surrender 
its governing and controlling power over them. Under the decisions 
of the Supreme Court, upon the Constitution of the United States, a 
charter cannot be annulled otherwise than by judicial authority, en 
forcing this tacit condition of forfeiture. If the General Assembly, 
^then, should, by construction, be held to have surrendered this right, 



152 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

the individual is left single-handed to cope with a great moneyed power, 
which must necessarily overwhelm him. 

Besides, it may well be doubted whether, by any law, the General 
Assembly could surrender this right of government and control the 
legitimate functions of those who might succeed them in office. But, in 
any event, it is clearly the duty of the State which creates such an insti 
tution to hold it accountable and see that it discharges its duty to the 
public. Such was Mr. Burke s opinion in his speech on the East India 
bill as to the duty of the British Parliament, and the duty of our Gen 
eral Assembly is rendered stronger by the paramount intangibility 
secured to charters by the Supreme Court of the United States. 

These views furnish an answer to the case from Alabama of The 
State v. The Tombeckbee Bank, 2 Stewart s Rep. 30, which will be relied 
on upon the other side so far as it has any bearing on this case ; for 
although the circuit judge has laid much stress upon it, yet upon exami 
nation it will be found that for the purposes of an authority a clause of 
the Constitution of Alabama subjects it to a principle which entirely 
separates it from the case now before this court, and as an obiter dictum 
it is based entirely upon the three cases in 6 Cowen s Reports, 196, 211. 
217, which have already been cited, and which are very erroneously sup 
posed to decide the point. 

There is another fallacy pervading this reasoning which confounds 
together the remedies against individuals and corporations. It consists 
in overlooking the consequences arising from that rule of the law which 
declares that corporations can exercise no power but such as is actually 
granted by the charter. 4 Wheat. 636; 2 Cowen, 711. An individual 
may issue as many notes as he pleases, without any grant from the 
State; but a corporation, without such grant, can issue none. The indi 
vidual, therefore, is under no liability for his exercise of the right; 
whilst the corporation, on the contrary, is fully responsible. By revers 
ing the picture, the differences are made yet more obvious. As regards 
.the right of the individual to issue notes, the State may restrict or take 
it away, at any time, by a simple enactment ; but when once the right 
has been granted to a corporation, by a charter, it cannot be divested 
by any legislation, and no control remains to the State but the exercise 
of its judicial power on a question of forfeiture. 

2. It is further objected, that the bank is authorized by its charter to 
issue notes to three times the amount of its capital; and, consequently, 
cannot be subjected to a forfeiture for suspending, if its issues be within 
that limit. This objection is founded upon a mistaken view of the ob 
ject of the clause. A bank, alone, of all corporations, has authority 
to create debts without any definite object. A railroad or a bridge com 
pany could only borrow money to be applied to the purposes of their in 
stitution ; and those purposes would necessarily limit the extent of such 



THE LAWYER. 153 

loans. But from the nature of a bank, there is no limitation of this sort ; 
and nothing short of a limitation in the charter would restrain a bank 
from contracting debts or making issues to any extent, however large. 
It was indispensably necessary, therefore, to prescribe a limit in the 
charter; and it accordingly does provide that the total amount of all 
the debts (not issues alone) should not exceed three times the capital. 

By what process of reasoning can it be maintained, however, that 
within this limitation the bank is released from the obligation to pre 
serve its issues sound? Is it contended that the State designed to re 
move all the checks which prudence might suggest, and let the bank 
run wild within this limitation? For it must be admitted, on the other 
side, that if this clause can bear the construction which is contended 
for, it would sustain the bank in any course of management within the 
limitation, however wild and speculative ; and thus a measure of secur 
ity and precaution would be converted into a license for the wildest ex 
travagance. Upon every just principle of construction, the clause must 
be regarded as analogous to those laws which subject the accounts of 
certain public officers to a scrutiny, merely, as an additional security to 
the public. The sureties of such officers have again and again endea 
vored to excuse their liability, on the ground that the accounts had not 
been examined as the law provided; but the courts have as uniformly 
held that a mere precaution, prescribed for the security of the public, 
should not be construed to affect any other right which the public had. 
United States v. Kirkpatrick, 9 Wheat. 720. 

In the nature of things, one limitation already existed to restrain 
the over issues of a bank. It was in that paramount law of the Consti 
tution which makes every obligation payable in gold and silver. To 
this was added, by the charter, the limitation of the amount of indebt 
edness. The General Assembly may be presumed to have said to the 
bank: Though you pay coin, as the law requires, you shall not exceed 
three times your capital; to that amount you may go, but take care 
that even within this amount you preserve the currency sound. If you 
fail to do so, you will become a public nuisance, and we must abate 
you. 

In proof that this is the correct view of the subject, stands the fact 
that the amount of the indebtedness of a bank has nothing to do with 
the soundness of its currency. For a bank with a very small circulation 
may be utterly worthless, while on the other hand a bank with a very 
large issue might, for the whole amount, have in its vaults dollar for 
dollar. Take the case of a bank with $100,000 of issues and a capital of 
a million of Mississippi or Ocmulgee stock, or any other unavailable as 
sets ; and suppose, on the other side, a bank with a million of issues and 
a million of dollars in its vaults. The safety of a bank does not depend 
upon the indebtedness, but upon the relative proportion between its 



154 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMM1NGE&. 

debts and available assets ; and it is the keeping these proportions true 
which constitutes prudence in their management. 

3. Certain cases will be cited from 6 Cowen, 196, 211, and 217, in sup 
port of the positions relied on upon the other side. These cases all arose 
upon certain statutes of New York, and when examined, will be found 
to stand entirely clear of the propositions involved in the present case. 
They belong to that class of cases where a special remedy has been pro 
vided by the charter, for the particular case; and that remedy, it was 
held, must be strictly followed. 

But they have no relation to the common law remedy, where it stands 
unimpaired by legislation; and, indeed, the opinion of Mr. Justice 
Woodworth implies, that but for the protection which the statute afforded, 
the forfeiture at common law must have ensued. 2 Cowen, 215, 216. In 
fact, these cases give the only just idea which can be applied to a sus 
pension per se, as it has been termed: they treat it as perfect slumber of 
the bank; an entire suspension of all its functions. So that when it 
ceases to discharge its duty, it must cease also to make profits, or to do 
business for its stockholders. 

The case of Alberti v. The Bank of the United States, in Philadelphia, 
of which a report has appeared in the newspapers, is the only case in 
which a distinct declaration is made, as it certainly was made by the 
judge, who delivered the opinion of the court in that case, that a sus 
pension is not a cause of forfeiture at the common law. But this opinion 
was not necessary to the judgment in the case, inasmuch as it went off 
upon another ground. Still, however, the point was argued, and an 
opinion expressed; and as far as that goes, it is against the action in this 
case. But we apprehend, that Pennsylvania is not the region from 
which this court will introduce new law as to banks, either for the use 
or the instruction of South Carolina. 

The stupendous frauds which have been practiced in that region, and 
that most disastrous of all bank failures, the failure of the Bank of the 
United States, have there shaken loose the moorings of public virtue. 
We may set off with confidence against this case the honest and straight 
forward judgment and reasoning of the court of Indiana in the case of 
The State v. The State Bank, in 1 Blackford s Reports, 267, in which alone, 
of all the cases, a judgment of the court is given directly upon the point 
of suspension. 

The result of all these cases is to leave the court free to take such 
course as its own judgment may dictate, unfettered by any direct 
authority upon the point. The issue is fairly joined between the parties, 
and it remains for the court to determine whether the stern morality of 
the common law shall form the standard of commercial probity with us, 
or whether the failure to comply with obligations shall be decked with 
new names and established as the fashion of the day in this State also. 



THE LAWYER. 155 

South Carolina has throughout the late financial crisis stood upon a proud 
eminence. Her probity and honor have given character to everything 
upon which her name was stamped, and it is a fact, be it spoken to her 
honor, that the notes of her State institutions were received as a cur 
rency throughout the Union, during the w r hole of the late disastrous 
times. It may fairly be assumed, that this confidence was mainly owing 
to the high tone of public virtue, which her General Assembly exhibited, 
and to the steady hand with which she at once checked the downward 
tendency of her banks. But if her courts of justice shall recognize the 
suspension of specie payments as a right in the banks ; if the sternness 
of judicial integrity shall be perceived to estimate a failure to redeem 
obligations by another standard : then the whole pitch of public senti 
ment must be lowered, and the suffering, which has been undergone in 
the supposed attainment of a great public good, will have been endured 
in vain. May that God, who holds in his hands the hearts of rulers and 
judges, guide this court into all truth, and direct it to such judgment 
in this cause, as shall best promote the ends of public justice and the 
virtue and happiness of our people. 

The arguments of the other counsel in this celebrated 
case are all reported in the volume referred to. If the 
scope of this work permitted I would not feel that I was 
wearying the reader, especially if he be an appreciative 
lawyer, by inserting them in this Memoir. As a companion 
for that of Mr. Memminger and a fine specimen of his ad 
mirable diction, the writer regards the argument of Mr. 
Petigru, as reported, among the ablest expressions of legal 
acquirement he has ever met with, while that of Attorney- 
General Bailey is exhaustive of the subject, and in its finish 
worthy of the Bar of which he was so distinguished a mem 
ber. In closing his argument, which covers one hundred 
and fifty pages of the volume, Mr. Bailey uses the following 
language : 

The judgment in Mr. Hampden s case destroyed not the rights of the 
people but the monarchy it attempted to render absolute ; and that in 
the case of the city of London only produced a revolution and a bill of 
rights. And so, too, the several efforts made by the Supreme Court of 
the United States to enlarge the powers of the general government by a 
subtle and perverse construction of the Constitution have practically 
but rendered that government weaker; whilst they have almost entirely 



156 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGEE. 

destroyed the confidence of the people in the judiciary and filled the 
land with jealousies, fears and heart-burnings, which have loosened the 
bonds of the Union itself. If I have any apprehensions as to the results 
of this case it is only for consequences of the character I have last ad 
verted to. The people of South Carolina will not submit to be governed 
by banks, and they cannot be compelled to submit whatever else may 
be the result of any effort to enforce submission. They never will en 
dure arbitrary government of any sort, and least of all that meanest, 
most odious, and most degrading of all, the domination of an irresponsi 
ble moriied oligarchy. 

Lord Morpeth, afterwards the Earl of Carlisle, was visit 
ing Columbia at the time these arguments were being heard 
before the Appellate Court. He became deeply interested 
in them, as he was with the conduct and proceedings of our 
Legislature. To one who is now a venerable member of the 
Columbia Bar (Hon. J. D. Pope), he declared the argu 
ments in the bank cases the finest that he had ever lis 
tened to. In his forcible style of delivery and directness of 
method, he compared Mr. Memminger to Sir Robert Peel, 
the great leader of the English House of Commons. 

Justice Richardson delivered the judgment of the court. 
His review of the case and opinion is justly regarded among 
the ablest judicial utterances of the Bench, which in South 
Carolina, for purity of purpose and comprehensive knowl 
edge of the law, had, in these days, no superior in the 
United States. The opinion is a valuable law treatise in 
itself one that not only all accomplished lawyers should 
be familiar with, but worthy the consideration and careful 
study of those who properly appreciate the great funda 
mental principles of political economy, whether lawyer or 
layman, jurist or man of business affairs. 

Concurring opinions were delivered by Chancellors Har 
per, Dunkin, and Johnston, and Justice Wardlaw. Chan 
cellor Johnson delivered an able dissenting opinion, which 
was concurred in by Justices O Neal, Evans, and Butler. 
The judgment of the circuit court was thereupon reversed. 



THE LA WYER. 157 

The scire facias being sustained by the decision of the 
Court of Appeals, vacated the charter of the bank, which 
was renewed by an act of the Legislature passed at the ses 
sion of 1844. 

The effect of these proceedings was to bring the banking 
system of the State to that normal state of legitimate finan 
cial exchanges which preserved the currency of the banks 
in South Carolina from speculative fluctuations in intrinsic 
value, and held the notes of the Bank of the State, and all 
other reputable banks in the State, at par with the gold 
standard recognized throughout the commercial world. It 
was in consequence of the proceedings in these cases that a 
bill of the Bank of South Carolina was accepted every 
where in commercial transactions as the representative of so 
much gold and commanded a large premium over the bills 
of the banks in other sections, which were being conducted 
upon a more speculative plan. Security took the place 
of mistrust, and actual value that of a mere printed asser 
tion. 

It was not until the War of Secession, beginning in 1860, 
disturbed the system thus inaugurated, and until the march 
of armies and the chaos of revolution took the place of 
peaceful occupations, that the currency of South Carolina 
ceased to represent on the face of the bank bills their full 
gold value. 

Dr. McGuffey, for many years a distinguished Professor of 
Political Economy at the University of Virginia, in a lec 
ture to his class on the subject of banking, declared this ar 
gument of Mr. Memminger to be the soundest and most 
exhaustive treatise on banking he had ever met with. 

I trust that no apology is due the reader for having led 
him into alcoves that may, to some extent, be barren of that 
more enticing literature 

" Where sports the warbling muse and fancy soars sublime." 



158 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

Biography would be but poorly written if it did not pre 
sent truthfully and without the gloss of rhetorical exagge 
ration or excuse the character and the thoughts and the acts 
of the individual. 

Following the case of The State versus The Bank of South 
Carolina came that of The State versus The Bank of Charles 
ton. This case was in some respects similar to that of the 
Bank of South Carolina so much so that I deem it unneces 
sary to refer to the pleadings or to the arguments of coun 
sel. Before dismissing the subject of the bank cases, and as 
an evidence of the sincere and patriotic motives that influ 
enced Mr. Memmiiiger to attack with such earnestness the 
State Bank, allow me to call the reader s attention to the 
proceedings of subsequent legislatures with regard to this 
matter. 

The charter of the Bank of South Carolina was about to 
expire by limitation, and in anticipation of this Mr. Mem- 
minger introduced in the House of Representatives during 
the session of 1848 the following resolutions: 

1st. Eesolved, That it is unwise and inexpedient for a State to engage 
in banking or to subject its resources to the casualties of banking opera 
tions. 

2d. That the Bank of the State is founded on this erroneous policy and 
exposes the public treasury and the public faith to the hazards incident 
to banks. 

3d. That it is inexpedient to re-charter the Bank of the State, and that 
measures ought now to be taken to wind up its concerns during the 
period of its present charter. 

4th. That a special committee of each House be appointed to devise 
and report at the next session the proper measures for carrying into ef 
fect the last resolution. 

These resolutions were adopted after a protracted debate, 
in which Mr. Memminger presented his objections to the 
State entering upon a banking business in speeches of 
great power. He was made chairman of the joint committee 
raised by the resolutions, and as such reported to the House 



THE LAWYER. 159 

in the session of 1849 a bill to provide for winding up the 
affairs of the bank. This bill was under discussion for a 
length of time during this session, and called out the full 
force of the friends of the bank, who were ably represented 
in the discussion, and, as I am informed, by strong and influ 
ential agents, who remained at the capitol until the decisive 
vote w^as taken. This vote was taken on a motion of Mr. 
Irby to indefinitely postpone the bill, reports, resolutions 
and amendments. Those voting to indefinitely postpone 
the whole subject numbered sixty-two, and those voting in 
the negative, sixty. 

The spirit displayed in the debate, and the methods 
resorted to by the friends of the bank, greatly incensed Mr. 
Memminger. On his return to his constituency he pub 
lished a series of articles in the Charleston Courier, over his 
signature, in which he presented his objections to the re- 
charter of the bank. I do not deem it necessary to publish 
all of these articles, as the last, which is a recapitulation, 
will be sufficient to present the matter clearly to the reader. 
In the opening sentences of his first article he uses the fol 
lowing language: 

At the last session of the Legislature the debate on the Bank of the 
State was suppressed by the friends of the bank before they allowed me 
the opportunity to reply to them. As the chairman of the committee 
which reported the bill under consideration, and, moreover, as chairman 
of the Committee of Ways and Means, I was entitled to be heard in 
reply. This right was still more manifest because I had been personally 
assailed by two champions of the bank, and the South Carolina Legis 
lature had never before refused, to the humblest representative, an 
opportunity to defend himself. This result was brought about by a bare 
majority of two votes, and when you are informed that the two cham 
pions who had assailed me personally voted in the majority, and that 
one of them actually harangued the House in favor of cutting off the 
debate, and with it my reply, you will agree with me that pursuit of 
such adversaries would be superfluous. I have no disposition to tear 
them from the horns of the altar; but the privilege of the sanctuary 
is altogether personal, and, while I redeem the pledge which I made at 
the opening of the debate, to decline all personal controversy, I cannot 



160 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

permit the friends of the bank to shut me out from laying before you, 
fellow-citizens, the information and arguments which I had collected in 
Jeply. 

Before presenting to the reader the concluding article 
of Mr. Memminger, which is a review of the whole contro 
versy between himself and Mr. F. H. Elmore, the president 
of the bank, I deem it proper to call the reader s attention 
to the answer of Mr. Meinminger to the charge made against 
him as chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means in 
the House, and against Mr. Jefferson Bennett, a prominent 
senator, of conspiring together to secure the appointment of 
a joint committee of which each were to be made chairman, 
with hostile designs against the bank. The following reply 
by Mr. Memminger, is taken from the Charleston Mercury of 
March 8, 1850. 

To the People of South Carolina: 

I had supposed that I was near the land in the sea of charges on 
which I have been launched by the president of the bank. I had 
reached the year 1846, and expected to dispose of that period in the 
present number. But the last number of the president of the bank car 
ries us back to the year 1833, and renews one of his charges of that year 
in a new form. The charge, as originally made, was, that Mr. Bennett 
and myself, between whom the most confidential relations subsisted, 
and who were occupying the most responsible positions on the floor of 
each House, had taken advantage of that position, and by concerted ac* 
tion had contrived the appointment of a joint committee, of which each 
was to be chairman, with a hostile design against the Bank of the 
State. 

The whole force of the charge lay in the allegation of concert and 
conspiracy. This I proved to be utterly without foundation, by ex 
hibiting the original proceedings as certified by the clerks of the Senate 
and House, which showed that these proceedings originated with others, 
and that neither of us had anything to do with them. 

Having thus refuted the charge made, I should have rested there," 
But I went on to affirm that I had never made a motion for the appoint 
ment of such a committee, and that I was incapable of so gross an indeli 
cacy. The president of the bank having procured information that 
this assertion was " inaccurate," abandons his original charge of com- 



THE LAWYER. 161 

bination and presents a new one, charging me with having separately 
offered such a resolution, as that which I have censured as a gross in 
delicacy. In order to give him the full benefit of what can be made of 
the charge, I quote his own language. Speaking of me, he says : " The 
journals show that he offered the resolution, and the resolution, in his 
own hand-writing, is conclusive of the fact. Even in the extremity (he 
continues) of an utterly desperate case like this, he cannot fly to the 
miserable and quibbling subterfuge that his appointment was under the 
Senate resolution, for by offering his two days before, parliamentary 
usage would cause his appointment as chairman. His only escape was 
in denying the fact. That he offered such a resolution, and that fact 
he did deny, but the records settle it conclusively against him. Where 
will he fly to now ? " 

Answer. Truth and integrity never fly. They stand fast together 
and sustain each other. When I asserted that 1 had never made the 
motion, I did so upon the highest proof which could be procured. I did 
not venture to rely upon memory, but applied to the officers who had 
the keeping of the journals of both Houses for all the information which 
they could furnish. Their certificates I have published. I also wrote 
to the then Speaker of the House (now Judge Wardlaw), and have 
since received his reply, in which he says : k< You had no agency in pro 
curing the appointment which, as Speaker, I made of you, to be chair 
man of the Committee of Ways and Means, beyond such agency as is in 
volved in the opinion which, from previous acquaintance with you, I had 
formed of your fitness for the place, etc. Nor had you any more direct 
agency in your being appointed upon the committee to investigate the 
bank." I had not intended to publish Judge Wardlaw s letter, but this 
new matter makes it proper to do so. I therefore subjoin a copy of it. 

The concurrence of all these witnesses proves the sincerity with 
which I affirmed that I made no such motion. 

But it seems, however, that we are all mistaken, and that such a mo 
tion was made by me. I have not the least recollection of it, but if it 
be so, I do not hesitate to pass the same censure upon it which I pro 
nounced before I knew I had any connection with it. I consider it an 
indelicacy which I should certainly not commit now; and I am glad 
that the lapse of twelve years since it occurred has so far improved my 
perception as to enable me to condemn and avoid the error into which I 
fell in 1838. 

2. We are next carried back, by the president of the bank, to the his 
tory of my bill to reduce the public debt in 1841. As I understood his 
original charge, it was that he Jiad been excluded a hearing before the 
committee, lest perchance he might expose the insidious design of the 
bill. Now we are told that he was absent from Columbia when the bill 
was before the committee, but that as soon as he returned, upon express- 



162 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGEE. 

ing his complaint that he had received no notice of it, he says: " On the 
next day Mr. Memminger assembled his committee, and I was called 
before it, when I was informed that I was at liberty to state my views 
on the bill." After some objection made on his part, he goes on to say : 
"The chairman said the committee desired, as I was present, to hear 
my views, that they might affect the course of its members in the 
House, or they could get the bill re-committed, if my views convinced 
them the bill ought not to pass. I then gave my views, and exposed 
the ruinous operation of the measures it proposed." 

The president of the bank would have saved us much trouble if he had 
made this statement at the first, instead of charging, as he did, " that 
this measure taken up in the Committee of Ways and Means, decided on 
and reported to the House without calling the president of the bank 
before the committee, or giving him an opportunity of explaining its 
effects on the bank. And that this was omitted, although it had been 
made, ever since 1823, the duty of the president of the bank to attend 
the session of the Legislature, for the purpose of giving information 
regarding the bank." 

Although upon a critical analysis of the language, it may be made 
out that the original charge merely affirms that he was not heard by 
the committee before they reported, while the new statement admits 
that he was heard after they reported; yet to every reader the idea 
was conveyed that he had not been heard at all ; no one could imagine 
that the time only was in issue and not the thing. This difference 
exhibits most strikingly another of those concealed back doors, with 
which the bank abounds. But even the difference, thin as it is, has 
been removed by the other admission of the president of the bank, viz. : 
that the chairman said that the committee would have " the bill recom 
mitted if the views of the president of the bank convinced them that the 
bill ought not to pass." 

What the effect of his views was can only be inferred from the fact, 
that no one proposed to recommit the bill, although some of the ablest 
friends of the bank, and two of its then leaders in the House were on 
the committee. 1 

3. At this point, however, I am met by a renewal of the allegation 
that the bill was dropped on account of the exposure which it thus un 
derwent, and that as it was not discussed before the House proves that 
the original design was a surprise upon the House. 

Answer : I have no doubt that the public are somewhat surprised with 
the prominence which the president of the bank has given to a bill of 

1 Much complaint was made of the facility of this committee. The best answers to it 
is in the character of its members. The following is a list of their names : C. G. Memminger, 
F. W. Davie, A. IT. Bclin, S. M. Earle, L.J.Patterson, Albert Rhctt, E.G. Palmer, Joel 
Smith, A. T. Darby, and Henry Gourdin. 



THE LAWYER 163 

which few of the people have ever heard. But he is right. The various 
facts and statements made by him, and a reference to the journals, 
have refreshed my memory, and enables me to speak of details, which 
are now brought to my recollection. This bill, although never passed 
or even discussed before the House, produced most important results, 
and saved the State from being absolutely infolded in the coils of this 
bank, as I shall proceed to show. 

By referring to the journals of 1841 it will be seen that a member 
from Richland, a friend of the bank, introduced a bill to remove the 
Bank of the State from Charleston to Columbia, and to establish a 
branch at Charleston ; that petitions had come up to establish branches 
at Aiken and Hamburg. A leading member of the House, a friend of 
the bank, offered, at the same session, the following resolution: 

Whereas, the Bank of the State of South Carolina was established for 
the benefit of the whole State, and the city of Charleston has had its 
full share of the benefits of the fire loan, and a surplus of the same re 
mains on hand; and whereas, from the petitions of the towns of Aiken 
and Hamburg, it is evident that a portion of the funds of the bank 
might be usefully employed in establishing agencies in those places; bo 
it, therefore, 

Resolved, That the balance of the fire-loan bonds remaining unsold 
in the Bank of the State, be considered, according to the third section 
of the fire-loan act, a portion of the capital of the Bank of the State of 
South Carolina, and that the president and directors of the said bank 
be authorized, whensoever they may deem it expedient, to establish agen 
cies at Aiken and Hamburg, or to increase the capital of its branches at 
Columbia and Camden. 

It must also be borne in mind that at this time the State was in the 
midst of her contest with the private banks in relation to the suspen 
sion of specie payments, and the scire facias to vacate their charters was 
then pending before the courts. Tlie excitement against the private 
banks was at its height, and the Bank of the State had now the oppor 
tunity, which many of its friends desired, of making itself a great cen 
tral money power, with branches extended over the State, and these 
various propositions were merely various developments of this scheme. 
My position at the head of the Committee of "Ways and Means was a most 
diuicult one. I had felt it my duty to condemn the suspension of specie 
payments, and to advise the Legislature to issue legal proceedings 
against those banks who would not come to terms. On the other hand, 
I disapproved still more the measures proposed for extending the power 
of the Bank of the State, and it was obvious that unless prompt and 
decided measures were taken, the excitement of the hour would fasten 
upon us a policy from which we could never be disentangled. Public 
debt was to be its ailment. I, therefore, determined to strike at the root 



164 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMM3NGER. 

of the evil, by taking away the borrowed money with which the bank 
project could alone be effected. The fire-loan bonds, then in the hands 
of the bank, were the primary object, and I appealed to the just public 
sentiment which had grown up, by proposing to reduce the public debt. 

The result showed that I judged aright. The public opinion re 
sponded to my bill it check-mated all the propositions to increase the 
power of the bank. But it came in too late in the session to stand any 
chance of being passed, except it were pressed with the greatest energy. 
It was, therefore, reported as speedily as possible by the committee, and 
by a vote of the House, made the special order for Friday, the ICth of 
December. Friday was occupied in voting upon amendments of the 
Constitution, which much engaged attention then, and it could not be 
reached. It fell back into the general orders, and as the Legislature 
had only a week more to sit, it was impossible to pass it in the form of a 
bill. I, therefore, put its leading proposition, namely, the rescue of the 
fire-loan bonds, in the simpler and more speedy form of a resolution. 
This underwent an angry and boisterous discussion ; but even in this 
simple form, I could not get a vote until the day before the adjourn 
ment, and that vote was not direct, but a side-wind to lay the resolu 
tion on the table. 

One great point, however, was gained the country was awakened. 
The discussion had set the matter before the people. Public opinion 
was enlightened ; the bank itself, in two years more, was made to give 
up what was left of the pay, and the State was rescued from the toils of 
a great moneyed combination. Eescued? No, not yet. The managers 
are again collecting all their strength for another struggle, and it ro- 
mains for the people at the next election to say whether the State shall 
yet again be free. Certain it is that at present no one can say a word 
against this bank, even though it be said at the command of the Legis 
lature and in the discharge of public duty, but it is on peril of such per 
secution as most men would seek to avoid. 

4. I have now reached the point at which I had intended to commence 
this number, but having occupied space enough for one morning in dis 
posing of this episode, I will defer what I had to say for another number. 
Eespectfully, 

C. G. MEMMINGER. 

JUDGE WAEDLAW S LETTER. 

ABBEVILLE, 25th February, 1850. 

My Dear Sir, I am very loth to connect my name with a public con 
troversy; but as you think that my testimony is important for your 
defense against unjust imputations, I will give it to you; and, in doing 
so, will depart from the course of silence concerning my own conduct, 
which I had resolved upon. 



THE LAWYER. 165 

My remembrance of the events of 1838 is not exact, and I have not 
now access to papers that might refresh it. In answer to your questions I 
can, however, speak as follows: 

1. You had no agency in procuring the appointment which, as Speaker, 
I made of you to be chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, 
beyond such agency as is involved in the opinion from previous acquaint 
ances with you I had formed of your fitness for the place. The partic 
ular reasons why, in considering what was best for the public interest, 
with due regard to the rights of individuals, I determined to put you at 
the head of this committee, and another gentleman, now deceased, at 
the head of the Military Committee, it is impossible for me to recollect. 
I am sure that no feeling of unfriendliness towards that gentleman, or 
towards the Bank of the State, or any of its officers, had any influence 
in the matter. 

2 and 3. Nor had you any more direct agency in your being appointed 
upon the committee to investigate the bank. I have no distinct remem 
brance that after your appointment on this committee you brought to 
my notice the circumstance that you were a director in another bank, 
and that my reply was : " That circumstance is rather in favor of than 
against the appointment." Yet this matter does not strike me as new, 
and I recall something either of the original occurrence or of subse 
quent conversations about it. I am satisfied that I knew you were a 
director of the Planters and Mechanics Bank; and I think it not at all 
unlikely that I made the reply which has been mentioned, for it is con 
sistent with the opinions I entertained. I believed that the bank was, 
in the main, well managed, and that its interest would be promoted by 
searching investigation. I felt that any mismanagement ought to be 
detected and exposed. I believed, too, that the considerations which 
demanded publicitj 7 to be given to the pecuniary transactions of the 
State were superior to, if in conflict with those which were said to re 
quire secrecy with regard to the business of banking, in which the State 
was engaged, and that the best committee-man for investigation was 
one who was predisposed to blame rather than commend; but intelli 
gent, temperate, and fair enough to perceive and acknowledge the truth. 
Your prominence in the House, thorough acquaintance with the finan 
cial affairs of the State, proximity to the principal bank, business habits, 
clear-headedness, and candor, induced my selection of you. The expe 
rience in banking accounts and transactions, which, as director of an 
other bank, you might be supposed to have acquired, I thought increased 
your qualifications. To any suggestions of unfair practices which ad 
verse interest might lead to, my opinion of your integrity would, in your 
case, have given no heed; but in the case of any known enemy of the 
bank, according to my opinion, there was but little ground for appre 
hending harm to come to the bank in the proper course of its operations 
from his investigations. And the objections on this score seemed to me 



166 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGEH. 

no greater against a director than against a stockholder of another bank, 
or even any person connected with another institution in any of the va 
rious ways that might induce a preference of its interests to those of this 
bank ; and no greater against a director of another bank examining this, 
than against a director of this being transferred to another bank. 

4. Concerning the bill to authorize a subscription in behalf of the 
State to the Southwestern Railroad Bank, I remember no conversation 
between you and myself, but I recollect the following particulars: 

A great effort was necessary, and was made to induce a majority of 
the House to confirm the subscription which Governor Butler had made. 
After the assent of the House to the main proposition had been obtained, 
an attempt was made to add to the clause, which required the bank to 
pay the instalments of the* subscription, a proviso that if the president 
and directors of the bank should be of opinion that they could not pay 
without embarrassment to the operations of the bank, or, without in 
volving the faith of the State pledged for redemption of State stocks by 
the act of 1821, and subsequent acts, then the Comptroller-General 
should issue stocks to pay the instalments of the subscription. The pro 
viso was rejected in the House, and the bill passed a second reading, I 
voting for it on the call of the ayes and noes. The bill was returned 
from the Senate with the proviso in it; and thus altered, it passed a 
third reading in the House. As the ayes and noes were not then called, 
and no opportunity had been afforded to me of making known the 
change which the insertion of the proviso had produced in my disposi 
tion towards the bill, after I had announced that the bill was again or 
dered to the Senate, I said, by leave of the House, that I felt it due to 
myself, to prevent misconstructions of my opinion, by declaring that, 
if the ayes and noes had been called on the bill as amended, I would 
have voted against it. 

I had then a decided opinion that it was better for the State to make 
no subscription even to let the establishment of the Southwestern Rail 
road Bank fail than to borrow money for banking. To the substance 
of the alternative measure, authorized by the proviso, I was then 
strongly opposed, and the form, too, seemed to me objectionable. 
Besides that, a result was attained which had not been contemplated by 
the especial friends of the bill; the proviso, I thought, exhibited a 
studied array of pledges that might embarrass the State in future deal 
ings with its funds; and, moreover, erected the president and directors 
of the bank into a tribunal to decide what the faith of the State required. 
It was said in debate that the proviso was only a measure of extreme 
caution, intended to guard against unforeseen contingencies, but I 
thought that I had seen, in the course of the transaction, evidences that 
it would be made available if it passed. 

With great respect, yours truly, 

D. L. "\VAHDLAW. 
C. G. Afemminger, Esq. 



THE LA WYER. 167 

[For The Mercury.] 

Messrs. Editors, In your paper of yesterday Colonel Elmore alludes 
to a certificate which I had furnished Mr. Memminger, respecting the 
appointment of the committees of examination for the Bank of the State 
of South Carolina and its branches in 1838, and my remarks which accom 
panied the certificate. 

It is proper to state that Mr. Memminger applied to me to know how 
the committees were appointed at the annual session of 1838 and if he 
had had any agency in the appointment. "When he wrote I had only the 
rough journal of that year before me, without an index, and finding that 
the appointment was made on a concurrence by the House with a mes 
sage from the Senate, it did not occur to me to look further, nor had I 
any recollection that a resolution was also introduced for that purpose. 
I did not speak from memorj 7 , but from that portion of the proceedings 
then before me, and in that I was correct. It is no cloubc true, as Col. 
Elmore states, that Mr. Memminger before submitted a resolution on 
the subject, but the action of the House on the message from the Senate 
superseded the necessity of considering Mr. Memminger s resolution, 
and the appointment of the committees was certainly not made on that 
resolution, nor, as far as I know, by the agency of Mr. Memminger. How 
far the fact that he had submitted such a resolution influenced the 
Speaker in the appointment of the committees I have no means of know 
ing. Very respectfully, 

March 6th, 1850. T. "W. GLOVER. 

The following is the summing up of the whole matter, 
and presents clearly the reasons why he opposed with such 
earnestness the re-chartering of the bank. 



To the People of St. Philip s and St. Michael s Parishes: 

FELLOW-CITIZENS, I propose now to sum up the various matters 
which I have submitted to your consideration. 

I have endeavored to satisfy your judgments that the Bank of the 
State ought not to be re-chartered, for the following reasons: 

1. Because it is an institution not consistent with the character of 
popular governments inasmuch as it is so complex in its machinery 
and relations that few can spare the time and attention necessary to 
understand them. 

2. Because it is unconstitutional, and can only be judiciously sus 
tained by the same evasion of the Constitution of the United States by 
which a protective tariff is sustained. 

3. Because its charter violates the spirit of our State Constitution, 
in the following particulars: 



16R LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

I. In that it confers on a body of thirteen men, sitting in secret, and 
bound to each other by an oath of secrecy, the power to appropriate, at 
pleasure, the public money ; when, by the Constitution of the State, no 
such appropriation can be made but by an act of the Legislature, which 
must first be read three times in the Senate and three times in the 
House of Representatives, on three successive days, before it can 
become a law; and, as a further security, the Constitution requires each 
House to keep a journal of its proceedings and to record the yeas and 
nays for public information ; while the proceedings of the bank are per 
formed secretly and studiously concealed from the public eye. 

II. The State Constitution gives to the Legislature alone the power 
to tax the people, and guards this power with so much jealousy as not 
even to permit the Senate to originate a tax bill, whereas the bank 
directors have power at any moment, by a mere order issued in secret, 
to tax the people to the extent of millions by contracting debts or issu 
ing notes, which the people are bound to pay. 

III. Because the State Constitution require the treasurers of the 
people s treasury to go out of office every four years so that their 
accounts may be passed upon by successors, whereas the bank officers, 
who hold ten times as much of the public money, and have in their 
hands all the treasury of the State, continue in office for a life-time. 

IV. Because the State Constitution confines the legislative authority 
of South Carolina to the General Assembly alone, whereas the board 
of bank directors, sitting in secret, have undertaken to exercise many 
of the most responsible functions of the Legislature ; such as subscrib 
ing to and patronizing railroad companies, banks, and manufacturing 
corporations, without any public discussion and without its even being 
known to the public by whom, or for what reasons these acts of the 
bank legislature have been passed. 

4. Because this State has, with an almost unanimous voice, repeatedly 
condemned the connection of bank and State as unwise and inexpedi 
ent, and as involving the public revenues in all the casualties of bank 
ing; and because the extension of this system to the borrowing of 
money upon the public faith, to lend out to individuals by bank accom 
modation as has been done for this bank is fraught with still more 
disastrous consequences to the public. 

5. Because the tendency of such a bank is to mislead and swerve 
from their duty, not only its own officers, but the public authorities 
themselves, by the influence it exerts over them; and if the president 
of the bank be a politician, it gives a master to the State. 

6. Because the experience of the Bank of the United States, of the 
Alabama and other State banks has proved all banking institutions 
which are connected with governments to be uniformly injurious to the 
public interests. 



THE LA WYER. 169 

7. Because the history of our own bank is fraught with similar les 
sons. It has, on every occasion in which its interests or wishes are con 
cerned, from the fire loan down to the present time, swerved the State 
from her true policy, plunged her into debt, and involved her in compli 
cated and embarrassing transactions, with which she would otherwise 
have had no connection. 

8. Because the power exercised by the bank directors to issue bills 
and other obligations, which the people are pledged to redeem, and the 
distribution of the money thus raised among the bank directors and 
their friends, is a partial system of favoritism in which each citizen of the 
State is virtually converted into an indorser of the notes of a favored 
few, whether the citizen will or no. 

These reasons having clearly established that the bank ought not to 
be re-chartered, I then proceeded to examine the objections urged by 
the friends of the bank against any interference with it. 

I. First objection : The chief of these was, that the pledge of the 
funds of the State and of the profits of the bank to the foreign creditor 
under the fire-loan act, stood in our way. 

To this, it was answered, that we did not propose to remove any of 
the funds of the State from the obligation imposed upon them. They 
were to be preserved for the foreign creditor until his debt should be 
paid. Whether the funds were in the hands of a bank, or any other 
agent, they were equally the funds of the State and equally secured to 
the foreign creditor his debt. 

II. It was answered, that a pledge of the funds of the State did not 
prevent a change of investment any more than when trust funds are in 
vested for a private trust; otherwise, all the substitutions of railroad 
stocks in the upper country, which the State had lately made for its 
South Carolina railroad bonds and stock, were unlawful. 

III. It was answered, that as to the bank itself the creditor when he 
loaned his money, had before him the bank charter, which on its face 
declared that the charter would expire in 1856; and he had, therefore, 
no right to count on its existence beyond that time. 

IV. It was answered, that so far as the profits were concerned, the 
creditor would be benefited by discontinuing the bank, inasmuch as the 
returns of the bank itself showed that during the last ten years the 
average profit on the capital was less than six per cent, per annum; 
whereas the money loaned out without any banking risk would bring 
seven per cent. 

Second objection : That this was a bank for the accommodation of 
planters ; and to destroy it would be injurious to the agricultural com 
munity. This objection was answered by showing that the officers and 
directors of the bank itself had among them $1,091,118 which left of the 
actual capital of the bank only $31,344 for all the rest of the State. 



170 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

That so far as the borrowed capital was concerned, $727,000 of it was 
loaned in Charleston under the fire loan ; and that of the other money 
in the bank, thirty individuals had out upwards of $700,000; that in 
Charleston, Columbia and Camden alone, near two millions were loaned ; 
so that the planters in the State at large would find no greater relative 
surplus for their accommodation from the borrowed than from the real 
capital. That in fact the bank was administered for the benefit of the 
directors and a few favorites, and not for the planters. 

The argument having been advanced to this point, and the objections 
answered, it followed, as a matter of course, that the bank s charter 
ought not to be renewed ; and this brought up the inquiry, "When should 
we commence measures of preparation ? 

I maintained that it was necessary to begin now 

1. Because in a small community like ours, it would necessarily take 
many years to call in so large an amount of money as is employed by 
this bank; and, if we did not begin before the end of the charter, a re 
newal of it would be forced upon us by necessity. 

2. Because the sooner we begin the more time could we take for dis 
tributing the payments to be made by the debtors. 

3. Because the country is now in so excellent a financial condition 
that no danger was to be apprehended from commencing the change now. 

4. Because the analogies of private business established the wisdom 
and prudence of changing the mode of conducting any large concern 
when a period was fixed upon for its termination. 

Objection : At this point it was objected that our relation* with the 
general government rendered it unwise to interfere with the bank, or to 
divide the State into parties. 

Reply: To this we replied that, extended as this bank always has 
been with its assets beyond its control in times of panic or difficulty, 
it never could assist the State. It w r ould be a source of weakness, in 
stead of strength, and would be more likely to need help from the State 
to sustain itself rather than to afford any to the State ; and, so far as 
any measures of protection for such a crisis were to be taken, the best 
that could be advised were to call in the assets of the bank, and place them 
in an available form, instead of leaving them at large, as they now are. 

It was further replied, that whatever division existed in the State was 
the act of the bank and its friends. They had attempted to get a re- 
charter eight years in advance, and when the State authorities had 
decided against their charter, instead of conforming themselves to that 
decision, they had set every engine at work, at home and abroad, to coun 
teract the decision of these authorities ; and that the whole division, 
therefore, was of their own instigation. 

Having thus established that a change was proper, and that now is 
the time for commencing it, it remained to inquire, What should this 
change be? 



THE LA WYEH. 171 

The plan which we proposed embraced four leading features, set 
forth in a bill, and the fifth embraced in a resolution ; all of which were 
before the Legislature at the last session. 

1. The board of directors was reduced to a president and four direc 
tors, with a salary of $1,000 to each director, and no privilege to borrow; 
agencies were substituted for the branches, and officers and expenses 
reduced. 

2. The chartered powers and privileges of the bank were continued, 
in all respects, except that no new loans of money were to be made. 

3. The business paper and bills of exchange, and the convertible 
property of the bank were to be applied to meet its engagements, and 
on all other paper an extension of time, not exceeding ten years, is 
given to all debtors who would give unexceptionable security to pay 
an annual interest of seven percent, on the whole debt, and at least one- 
tenth of the principal. 

4. All surplus collections were to be applied to pay the foreign debt 
of the State. 

5. To these was added a proposition to employ an agent to treat with 
the foreign creditor and see upon what terms his debt could be transfer 
red home. 

These various details were shown to be reasonable and proper, and, 
in the expectation that the bank would obey the solemn determination 
of the Legislature, they were supposed to be such as would be accepta 
ble to the bank itself. 

But, instead of that, the plan was met with open war, and instead of 
the assault being made upon its reasonableness or expediency, the cam 
paign was transferred back to the old ground, and the friends of the 
bank recurred to the question of re-charter and renewed the argument 
on that score. 

I did not think it necessary again to refute their arguments, but 
merely to take up the new matter which was brought forward since the 
decision against the re-charter in 1848. 

This new matter classed itself under two heads 

1. The facts reported by the investigating committees appointed in 
1848, and 

2. An appeal made to the Governor by Messrs. Baring, Brothers & 
Co., claiming a renewal of the charter as a matter of right. 

1. As to the investigating committees, I showed that, so far from their 
helping the bank, they had proved all the substantial charges made 
against it. 

I. They stated that the money of the bank was most unequally dis 
tributed, and that four districts in the State had out two millions of dol 
lars ; that the funds had been monopolized by a few individuals, and 
chiefly by the officers and directors. 



172 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

II. That not a single bond had been taken by the bank according to 
the spirit of the charter. 

III. That many of the debts have continued for years, without reduc 
tion, in the hands of the same individuals. 

IV. That the accommodation is partial in its character some being 
required to pay and other notes lying over for years. 

V. That a large debt due by the Nesbitt Manufacturing Company 
has stood for many years without one cent of principal or interest paid, 
and that not even an account of the establishment was required of those 
in whose hands it was entrusted after the bank had gratuitously pur 
chased it. 

VI. That the sum of $485,084 had been lost by bad debts to the bank, 
which, it otherwise appeared, was chiefly occasioned by the directors 
themselves. 

2. As to the suspended debt, which it was said the committees had 
reported favorably upon, it was answered that we never denied that 
much of it would probably be collected ; but we affirmed that experience 
had proved that in such concerns an equal amount would be found 
amongst the debts now current to go to the suspended debt, and that 
the whole estimate of loss on this score made by us was not more than 
six per cent, on the whole assets of the bank a sum which we conceived 
would certainly be consumed in expenses and losses. 

3. The next particular in which it was contended the committee had 
exhibited new light was as to the stocks held by the bank. We admit 
ted that they showed that at the present prices the losses which we 
expected on one set of stocks would be made up by gains on others, but 
we contended that this afforded one of the strongest reasons why the 
bank should realize on them at once. 

4. It was urged by the friends of the bank that the investigating com 
mittees had proved us to be in error in 18X8 in charging the bank with 
resorting to shifts to raise money by issuing bills payable. 

In reply, we showed that the transaction reported upon by the inves 
tigating committee was a bona fide sale by the bank of northern ex 
change ; whereas, those to which we excepted were cases where the 
bank, to raise specie or stave oil demands which they were not prepared 
to meet, drew bills upon a bank where it had no funds, paying double 
the usual rates of interest ; and that, when these bills became due, they 
renewed them by again drawing where they had no money, and again 
submitting to a usurious rate of interest; and that the excuse which 
was offered by them for the transaction was an admission of their weak 
ness in any time of trial all which, we insisted, proved the weakness 
either of the bank or of its debtors, and established the charge made. 

The only remaining new matter urged was the appeal to the Gov 
ernor made by Baring Brothers & Co., claiming a right to have the bank 
re-chartered. 



THE LA WYES. 173 

The appeal was proved to bo a contrivance of the bank, whereby 
they had induced their foreign brokers to father their own suggestions 
for the purpose of saving their charter. It was made to appear that the 
Barings never had the least idea of taking the ground now taken until 
after the bank had urged it upon them, sent them the materials, and 
even put the very argument in their mouths; that all this took place 
after the Legislature had expressly directed the bank to make arrange 
ments for an earlier adjustment of these bonds, and after it was sol 
emnly decided by the constituted authorities of the State that a con 
tinuance of the bank was injurious to the public welfare. 

As to the matter of the appeal, it was shown that there was no foun 
dation for any imputation on the faith of the State. 

1. Because it was a mere afterthought to say that the bank had 
helped the credit of the State in procuring this loan, inasmuch as the 
bank had suspended specie payments at the time it was contracted, and 
had stood dishonored for upwards of a year before on the London Ex 
change; that the loan itself was contrived to help the bank, and, but 
for the money over which it gave the bank command, could not have 
resumed specie payments. 

2. Because the guaranty endorsed on these bonds by the bank was a 
perfectly gratuitous act, not required or authorized by the law, and 
must have been done for some such purpose as that for which it is now 
used. 

3. Because, since the loan, the State has increased the funds pledged 
as a security to nearly five times the amount originally pledged, and 
that, besides this, the amount borrowed is itself secured, most of it, on 
mortgages guaranteed by the city of Charleston. 

4. Because the plan submitted proposes to the foreign creditor either 
to pay off his debt or to do the very thing lie himself proposes substi 
tute an ample equivalent security to that which he has. 

5. Because the price which our State stocks maintain, without any 
guaranty of the bank, show that the holders of those guaranteed by the 
bank could as easily realize every dollar due on them without the 
guaranty of the bank as with it, and would suffer no kind of injury 
from its withdrawal. 

6. Because the charter of the bank was before the creditors, and they 
knew, as well as we do, when it would expire, if they considered it of 
any value ; and that the whole of this clamor about good faith is a mere 
after-thought, suggested and repeated by the bank itself. 

I have thus, fellow-citizens, laid before you the whole subject. You 
will perceive that although it covers so much ground, it all bears upon 
a single issue, to-wit: the separation of bank and State; the same issue 
which was fought with the United States Bank, the pet banks, and the 
government banks in other States in this Union. The issue is now be 
fore the people; and you are to determine whether, in South Carolina, 



174 LIJTE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMX1SGER. 

you will still maintain that the public faith and the public funds shall 
be separated from the casualties of banking. As your representative, I 
have been contending for this principle for years, and you have con 
tinued to honor me with your approbation. The experience of fourteen 
years of service in the Legislature has convinced me most thoroughly 
that the Bank of the State is an institution dangerous and injurious to 
the public interests. A very large majority of the last Legislature has 
expressed the same opinion, and but for the powerful influence which 
this bank exerts, would have embodied that opinion in the form of law 

Our agency, fellow-citizens, as your representatives, is now to be 
accounted for, and you are to determine whether we have been faithful 
servants. In passing judgment, permit me to warn you that false 
issues will be offered to mislead you. Some of us will be accused of 
seeking personal ends, or of having our own interests to subserve. So 
far as I am concerned, I am content, fellow-citizens, to leave my charac 
ter in your hands. I have no fears on that score. Others will accuse us 
of hostility to all banks. Believe them not, fellow-citizens. The simple 
issue which we make is with a government bank. We say that it is 
unwise and inexpedient to subject the public moneys and the public 
faith to the casualties of banking. As for private moneys and individ 
ual capital, that may as legitimately be employed in banking as in 
commerce and manufactures, and it would be as absurd to refuse to 
charter banks as to refuse to charter manufacturing or insurance com 
panies. All these companies should of course be regulated by law, and 
with banks in particular measures should be taken to restrain their cir 
culation within proper bounds. But as regards the State itself, I can 
see no reason why she should not as well undertake to buy and sell cot 
ton, as to buy and sell bills of exchange, or engage in other banking 
operations. 

In conclusion, fellow-citizens, permit me to add that I have deliv 
ered my counsel with an honest conviction of its being to the interest 
of the community to which we all belong. To that community, under 
Providence, I owe every blessing I enjoy, and in its service I am willing 
to spend every energy I possess. So long, therefore, as you see fit to 
entrust me with your public interests, I shall most cordially strive to 
promote them to my utmost ability. And if at any time I should be so 
unfortunate as not to gain your approbation for the views which I may 
entertain, I shall still endeavor to do what I can for your good, in any 
humbler sphere to which Providence may assign me. 
Respectfully, your fellow-citizen, 

C. G. MEMMINGER. 

I might be content to rest the claim of Mr. Memminger 
to a high place among the great lawyers of his time upon 



THE LA WYKR. 175 

the manner in which he conducted the bank case, but there 
are other lights quite as brilliant to be thrown upon his 
character, and other causes that brought forth the expres 
sions of his acquirements as a lawyer, the strength of his 
mind, and his great resources, which I think it proper to 
consider before I turn to consider Mr. Memminger as a 
statesman and in the humbler, but by no means none the 
less interesting relations of a private citizen. 

A lawyer in full practice, with such a reputation as Mr. 
Memminger had acquired, not only in his metropolitan city, 
but throughout his State, would have many important causes 
to engage his attention, to call forth the energies of his 
strong mind, and to bring into practical application the 
knowledge and the experience he had acquired through 
years of patient research. It would require more than a 
single volume were I to report in full all of these cases. 
From among the great number I have selected but a few 
which, for the purposes of this Memoir, will be sufncient to 
illustrate the distinctive characteristics of Mr. Memminger 
as the advocate and jurist. 

About the same time in which he was engaged in the 
bank case, his services were employed by the older mem 
bers of the Jewish synagogue in Charleston to represent 
them in a suit which, because of its novelty and the respec 
tability of the parties litigant, created considerable comment 
at the time, and was of deep interest at least to the Israel 
ites of Charleston. The members of this synagogue were 
among the wealthy, and, in some instances, among the in 
fluential and respected citizens of the good old city, who, as 
it will be seen, were divided in their opinions on the con 
struction of the charter which had for a long time united 
them in their forms of religious worship. 

I am indebted to Mr. Levin, one of the oldest and most 
respected members of this synagogue, for the following 
statement of the facts in this case: 



176 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

The synagogue chartered under the title " Kahal Kadosh Bete Elo- 
him" ("Holy Congregation of the House of God") is among the oldest 
in the United States, having been organized in the year 1750. Its mem 
bership was then small, and its place of worship changed from time to 
time until the year 1781, when its present site was purchased and a 
handsome structure erected. The building committee awarded the 
contract to Messrs. Steedman & Horlbeck, and upwards of $20,000 was 
paid to the contractors. It was dedicated on the 19th day of September, 
1794, and Governor Moultrie, with the civil and military officers of the 
State and city, honored the occasion by their attendance. In the disas 
trous fire of April, 1838, this synagogue was totally destroyed. 

Having realized a sufficient sum from the insurance and individual 
subscriptions, the board of trustees issued proposals for the erection of 
the present edifice in the year 1840. The estimate of Mr. David Lopez, 
for $40,000, was accepted, and his contract was faithfully executed; not 
only with respect to the materials used, but also for the superior work 
manship and good taste displayed by him. When the building was in 
progress of erection a petition was presented to the board of trustees 
(July 8, 1840), signed by thirty-eight members of the congregation, 
praying " that an organ be erected in the synagogue to assist in the 
vocal part of the service." The petition was regarded as a direct viola 
tion of the first article of the constitution, as the form of service was 
in accordance with the " Minhag Sephardim," or " Portuguese Custom," 
as practiced in this city, and one of its provisions declares that " to 
guard against innovations, it shall not be in the power of any president 
or administration to introduce any alteration in the mode of service 
except such as may be specified in this constitution." 

The board of trustees by a vote of four to one decided that the petition 
was an innovation upon the established and immemorial usage of the 
Jews, and a violation of the fundamental law, and it was laid on the ta 
ble. The petitioners, highly incensed and dissatisfied with the action of 
the board, demanded that a general meeting of the members should 
take place, and on the 26th of July, 1840, eighty-seven members an 
swered to the roll-call. 

The proposition to allow the introduction was renewed, and after the 
resolution had been read the presiding officer declared that it was a 
constitutional question in direct conflict with the first and twelfth arti 
cles of the constitution, and would require a vote of three-fourths of the 
members present to alter or amend. 

From this decision an appeal was taken and the decision of the pres 
ident overruled by a vote of forty yeas and forty-seven nays. 

A long, animated and exhaustive discussion then ensued, and the 
resolution that an organ be erected in the synagogue to assist in the 
vocal part of the service was adopted by a vote of forty-six yeas to 



THE LA WYER. 177 

forty nays. After this action about forty of the most pious and exem 
plary members withdrew from the congregation and established a sepa 
rate place of worship. 

As soon as this disruption occurred the members of " Bete Elohim " 
changed the constitution, and several stringent provisions were enacted 
for the express purpose of excluding the seceders and making radical 
changes in the creed and service. These innovations were sanctioned by 
the minister, and a most intense excitement prevailed in the Jewish 
community, causing divisions in family circles, bitter feuds among 
relatives, and an estrangement among life-long friends. Many of those 
who had voted for the introduction of instrumental music now saw that 
the innovating party were frequently making radical changes in the ser 
vice, and in order to stop their progress solicited the seceders to return 
and be restored to their privileges. The application for a renewal of 
membership was made by letter to the president and board o trustees, 
four of whom were favorable, but the president (under legal advice) 
refused to convene the board for this or any other business. In conse 
quence of this illegal action twenty-five additional members withdrew 
from the corporation, united with the forty original seceders, and erected 
a place of worship in "Wentworth street, between Meeting and Anson 
streets, the name of the congregation being " Shearit Israel," or " Kem- 
nant of Israel." 

Many of the corporators who had contributed liberally to the build 
ing fund of the synagogue took active steps to conciliate, but these ef 
forts proved fruitless, and the members of " Bete Elohim" having deter 
mined to submit the matter to the civil tribunal, the seceding mem 
bers in the year 1843, retained the "services of Messrs. Memminger & 
Jervey, who represented them in a truthful and eloquent return to the 
rule for an information of quo warranto in the case of The State ex-rela- 
tionc A. Ottoleregui v. G. V. Ancker and others. 

It is a source of great pleasure to state that soon after the close of 
the civil war the excitement was allayed, harmony restored, and a 
union of the two congregations happily accomplished by the conserva 
tive element in both bodies. 

In this case Mr. Memminger declined to accept a fee or 
other compensation for his services. I am informed that 
he stated to the gentlemen who, as the representatives of 
their congregation, waited upon him, that he felt it to be his 
conscientious duty as a believer in their God, to devote 
himself to their service without compensation. As a testi 
monial of their esteem, and of their appreciation of his ser- 

12 



178 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

vice, the congregation presented to Mr. Memminger an ele 
gant service of silver. From the Charleston Courier of that 
date I extract the following description of this handsome gift: 

We had the pleasure yesterday of examining a beautiful and muni 
ficent present intended by a portion of the Israelites of Charleston, for 
C. G. Memminger, Esq., their able and gifted counsel in the great 
Hebrew cause now pending in our courts, in token of their grateful 
sense of his arduous and valuable professional services in their behalf, 
he having generously declined a fee for the same. It consists of an ele 
gant and richly chased silver pitcher of the Rebecca pattern, near two 
feet in height, and a massive silver waiter, eighteen inches in diameter. 
The pitcher bears in front the following inscription : 

FROM THE JEWS OF CHARLESTON, So, CA., 

Professors of the Ancient Faith of the House of Israel, as received from 

THEIR FATHERS 

TO 



In testimony of his disinterested, zealous and able services in defense of Rights, 

Founded upon that Faith, 
Before the Judiciary of South Carolina, 

ANNO MUNDI, 5604. 

[Hebrew inscription, with the following translation :] 

" Pray for the peace of Jerusalem : 
They shall prosper that love thee." 
Psalms cxxii. Verse 6. 

The following are the beautiful and appropriate devices: 

RIGHT. 

View of Jerusalem, with the fruit-bearing Palm. 

LEFT. 

The Palm of the Desert. 

Rebecca at the Well, stooping to draw water. 

Abraham s servant, with his camels in the distance. 

The pitcher is finished and adorned with an elegant scroll handle, 
resting on a cherub, and at the foot it is richly chased with the fruits of 
the Holy Land the olive, the date, the prickly-pear, and the melon. 

The waiter is chased with a rich oak border of leaves and acorns, and 
is decorated centrally with a beautiful wreath of roses and rose leaves. 

This valuable memento, with other personal property, 
was taken from the residence of Mr. Memminger when it 
was plundered by the invading soldiers of the Federal army, 
and, notwithstanding its well-marked and unmistakable evi 
dences of ownership, is still held somewhere at the North 
as a " trophy," or has been converted into bullion and sold 
by some remorseless thief. 



THE LAWYER. 179 

Another remarkable case which came before the equity 
courts at this time was that of Pell and Wife versus Elias 0. 
Ball and others. This case was then remarkable not alone 
because of the melancholy circumstances attending the 
death of Mr. Ball and his estimable wife, well-known and 
highly respectable citizens of Charleston, but it was of great 
interest to the legal profession because of the then novel 
question of survivorship which their tragic death raised be 
fore the courts. There were no very abstruse principles of 
law involved ; but as a case requiring a thorough knowledge 
of the rules of evidence., none that had occurred in the his 
tory of the Charleston bar occasioned at the time more 
comment or was of more general interest. The case belongs 
to a highly interesting branch of law, upon which at that 
time there were but very few positive decisions, particularly 
in the common law courts; to that class of cases where some 
right is made to depend on the question, which was the sur 
vivor of two or more persons who have perished by the same 
calamity? The facts of the case, as presented in the testi 
mony, are about these. 

The steamer Pulaski left Savannah, Georgia, 011 Wednes- 
day, 13th June, 1S33, with many passengers, and arrived at 
Charleston that evening. The next morning Mr. and Mrs. 

o & 

Ball, with their adopted daughter and servants, having gone 
on board, the vessel departed for the North and pursued her 
course until midnight, when, most of the passengers having 
retired, the boiler on the starboard side exploded. By this 
explosion an extensive breach was made in the side of the 
vessel. Her main deck was blown off, thus destroying all 
communication between the forward and after part of the 
steamer. The forward part of the upper deck, known as the 
hurricane deck, was entirely blown off, carrying with it the 
wheel-house and killing the captain, Dubois, and many pas 
sengers. The gentlemen s forward cabin was greatly in- 



180 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

jured, its floor ripped up and bulk-head driven in. Major 
Twiggs, a passenger, testified that his berth was there, and 
that many perished in that part of the vessel by the explo 
sion. 

The vessel careened to the larboard and soon began to fill 
with water. In a very short time the hold was filled and 
the water gained to the level of the floors of the gentlemen s 
cabin. Finally the vessel parted amidship (the forward and 
after part). There were several passengers in the forward 
part of the vessel, nearly all of whom, speedily perished, but 
the greater portion were in the after part. Of these as many 
as could do so climbed to the promenade deck, but there 
w r ere many mostly ladies, among whom were Mrs. Ball and 
her adopted daughter who remained on the main deck. 
Of Mrs. Ball nothing is known beyond the fact that she was 
seen on the main deck and recognized by at least one wit 
ness who knew her. She is described by this witness, who 
heard her calling in piteous tones for her husband, and who 
last saw her there on the main deck just before that portion 
of the vessel sank. - Of Mr. Ball, all that would indicate that 
he was not killed by the explosion was the discovery of a 
dress coat in a boat having a collar in the pocket bearing 
his name. 

Mr. Ball was the possessor of a large estate, and had 
before this calamity made a will, which disposed of tho same, 
making his wife his heir, in the event of his death without 
issue, and providing several contingent legacies. 

The question before the court was to determine the fact as 
to whether Mrs. Ball survived her husband, even for a 
moment, or whether she perished before he did, or whether 
both perished at the same instant of time. 

The very large estate, real and personal, would be dis 
tributed under the provisions of the will and the rules of the 
common law accordingly as the question of survivorship 
should be determined by the court. 



THE LA WYER. 181 

In this cause the complainants were represented by 
Messrs. Petigru, Legare and Seldler, while the respondents 
were represented by Mr. Memminger, Mr. Dessaussure and 
Mr. Mazyck. 

No pains were spared by the counsel on either side to 
have the circumstances of the appalling calamity brought 
clearly before the court. An exact model of the vessel was 
prepared and every minute circumstance brought to the at 
tention of the chancellor who heard the case. In the review 
of this testimony, as I am informed by a lawyer who heard 
the argument, Mr. Memminger brought into play his pecu 
liar characteristic as a lawyer, a direct approach to the sub 
ject-matter under consideration, by " brushing away the cob 
webs of rhetoric," and reaching by a process of intellectual 
analysis, rapid and perfect, the main point he desired to es 
tablish in the investigation. There could have been no bet 
ter case in which to deduce conclusions from hypothetical 
reasoning, none that brought out more fully all the law then 
established by decisions, or that was to be found in the text 
books on circumstantial evidence. The model of the unfor 
tunate steamer, presenting every peculiar feature of con 
struction, was brought before the court. This was so ar 
ranged that the wreck after the explosion could be perfectly 
demonstrated. The location of Mr. Ball and his wife was 
established by the testimony, and in this every minute cir 
cumstance was presented with that clearness and particular 
ity which was always characteristic of Mr. Memminger in 
his searching scrutiny of the evidence for and against his 
client. The case was under consideration for several days 
during which the interest of the public constantly in 
creased. Finally the arguments were closed and Chancel 
lor Johnston delivered his opinion and judgment. 

This was an elaborate review of the testimony in the case, 
the weight of which the chancellor determined was in sup 
port of the theory that Mrs. Ball survived her husband and 



182 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGEU. 

did not perish, until after lie had ceased to exist. The fol 
lowing is the concluding portion of his judgment : 

I have from all these considerations formed the opinion that Mrs. 
Ball survived her husband. The legacies must be disposed of as pro 
vided for in the contingency which has happened, of the death of the 
testator without leaving issue. Such as have lapsed must be distributed. 

In closing this judgment;, continues the chancellor, I cannot suffi 
ciently testify my respect for the honorable disposition manifested by 
all parties. An appeal to the law was made only because the minority 
of some of the parties at interest rendered a compromise difficult if not 
impossible. It is not a case for costs. Let the costs be paid out of the 
estate before distribution and deducted from the amounts coming to 
the parties ratably. 

The case was appealed by the complainants and before 
the Appellate Court again argued by Mr. Mcrnminger for 
the heirs of Mrs. Ball and Mr. Petigru contra. 

The unanimous judgment of the Appellate Court sus 
tained the judgment of the chancellor in the court below. 

In other forms this case came before the Courts of Equity 
at several subsequent sittings, but only with the view of de 
termining the equitable rights of the several parties who 
were claimants under the provisions of the will of Mr. Ball. 
These several cases will be found fully reported in the 
Equity Reports of Cheves, Spear and 1st Richardson. 

There is no case in which Mr. Memminger appeared as 
counsel among the many reported in the South Carolina de 
cisions, in which his remarkable facility for stating con 
cisely and with the utmost clearness the propositions in 
volved, is more conspicuously set forth than in the case of 
The State ex-relatione Shiver and others versus the Comp 
troller-General, reported at length in the fourth volume of 
Richardson s Reports, 1872. 

This was a petition praying for a writ of mandamus com 
manding the Comptroller-General to give notice to the audi 
tors of each county in South Carolina of the rate per 
centum of three mills on the dollar on the assessed value 



THE LA WYEE. 183 

of all of the taxable property in the State for the redemp 
tion of certain treasury certificates, known as the " Blue 
Ridge Railroad Revenue Bond Script." 

Under the provision of an act of the Legislature passed 
when the negro and " Carpet-hag" government was domi 
nating the State, the Comptroller was authorized to issue 
one million eight hundred thousand dollars of Treasury 
certificates to be exchanged for the bonds of the Blue Ridge 
Railroad Company, held by the financial agent of the State 
in New York, as collateral security for advances made to the 
said railroad company. In this cause Mr. Memminger, with 
Mr. J. D. Pope, Mr. Haskell and Attorney-General Melton, 
represented the State. The argument of Mr. Memminger, 
as embraced in the report of the case, is a perfect illustra 
tion of all that has been heretofore presented with respect 
to his peculiar characteristics as a lawyer. I would ab 
stract fully from these and present his clear statement of 
the law in the case, but do not deem it necessary to dwell 
longer on this interesting branch of my most interesting 
subject. 

As an advocate Mr. Memminger never attempted the art 
and mannerism of an orator of the schools. While he 
was often eloquent, his eloquence was the expression of 
strong thought, logically conveyed, convincing the mind 
and demolishing all opposition by the earnest manner in 
which it was delivered. His diction was always that of 
unexceptionably good English, but at no time did he revel 
in the fancies of a mere rhetorician. He dealt in no 
epigrammatic alliterations, no hyperboles, no tropes or daz 
zling figures with which to enrapture the sentimental and 
to obscure his reasoning. He has been thought by some to 
have been devoid of sentiment, but only by those whose 
temperaments and mental structure made them more poetic 
than philosophic. While the drill of his faculties, and 



184 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

indeed his intellectual endowments, caused Mr. Memminger 
to take a practical view of life, yet there was a profound sen 
timent pervading his nature. If this did not find expression 
in ditties of love and in songs of praise; if it did not come in 
the form of measured verse or in the well-rounded periods 
of the rostrum, it nevertheless was moving in his soul, 
responsive to every touch that reached the chords of a well- 
strung harp, whose sweet music brought joy to many a weary 
pilgrim in life s desert way. His sentiment never took the 
form of gushing enthusiasm, or w r as it ever found on a spas 
modic parade, but it moved quietly as a great undercurrent 
in his serene and appreciative nature. His mind was emi 
nently logical. In his orations, or addresses, he always 
sought to convince his hearers by argument and not to lead 
them by appeals to their emotions. Those who knew him 
well, and were long associated with him at the Bar and in 
the legislative councils of the State, testify that he possessed 
to a remarkable degree the power of stating his propositions 
with such clearness, and presenting them with such an 
earnest manner, that he brought conviction of their truth 
even before they were supported by an argument. 

It was this peculiar characteristic that made him so effec 
tive before a jury. From his contemporaries I learn that 
his statement of a case to the jury was always so lucid, so 
direct and so earnest that there was but little left to be done 
after it had been made but to support it with evidence. Mr. 
Memminger had no ideal in oratory. He had studied at no 
particular school the arts or the formulas of a master. 
Hence in his delivery and in his discourse there was noth 
ing that appeared as a borrowed garb either in his thought 
or action. As in his composition, so in his elocution there 
was the constant reflex of the personality of the man, find 
ing expression in simple and therefore forcible terms, and 
under no circumstances disguised in the toggery of a " green 
room," or by the strut of a stage performance. 



THE LA WYER. 185 

In his discourses Mr. Memminger never carried his hear 
ers on an excursion through the air. You might rest secure 
upon the earth, for he was no intellectual aeronaut, and never 
ventured to risk his own or the comfort of his audience by a 
voyage among the clouds. He sought to convince their 
rninds, and would build before them a pyramid of reasoning 
whose finished apex was the conclusive induction of his own 
lucid mind, warmed into an intense glow by the fervor of his 
earnest spirit. 

Hence it was that Mr. Memminger was so painstaking and 
careful in laying the foundation of his arguments. His 
premises were established in the most adroit and skillful 
manner, bringing with them fact after fact, with no redun 
dant terms or superfluous drapery to arrest the attention of 
his audience or to weaken the force of their array. He 
marshaled these as a skillful general would his advanced line 
of battle, holding as a strong reserve, to be thrown at any 
weak point, a well-prepared, concise and clear statement of 
the propositions he desired to sustain. His argument was 
the energetic advance of his columns in a phalanx of reason 
ing compact as the legions of Caesar. In support of this 
argument he brought forward authorities and cited prece 
dents selected with great care from his large park of legal 
artillery. 

Thus prepared, either for attack or defense, he was invinci 
ble before a jury, and was seldom reversed by the courts of 
last resort. 

He was an excellent counsellor. To use the language of 
the Hon. Joseph D. Pope, a most competent judge: 

Mr. Memminger was one of the best of our lawyers in consultation 
in a law case of any intricacy, in determining what should be put for 
ward and what should be kept back, and hence he was a superb exami 
ner of witnesses. 

In a case of purely a business character involving the details of com 
mercial transactions, Mr. Memminger was superior to Mr. Petigru or of 
any lawyer I have ever known. He was not an orator in the Cicero- 



186 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

man sense, and yet he was possessed with the power of convincing his 
hearers to a marvelous extent. Chancellor Johnston once said that 
when Mr. Memminger had finished the statement of his case there was 
little need for an argument. It was this peculiar gift that enabled Mr. 
Memminger to have sucli power everywhere; in the Cabinet or in the 
Legislature, before a board of railroad directors, at a bank meeting, or 
at a meeting of citizens to consider any public enterprise; in the coun 
cils of the church or of the bar, he was always a controlling spirit and 
an irresistible power. 

Mr. Petigru s superiority consisted in the manner in which he would 
discuss the philosophic principles on which the law rested and the elo 
quence with which he would present these views, particularly if he had 
any personal feeling in the matter or his sympathies had been appealed 
to. Mr. Petigru was a great humorist and a remarkable wit. His 
argument would be at times bristling with glittering shafts of satire, or 
sparkling with the most pungent witicisms. On the contrary, Mr. 
Memminger would in the statement of his cases and in the marvelous 
skill of his analysis, build up his logical arguments so strongly that not 
even the chaste diction and eloquence of Mr. Petigru or the sparkle of 
his wit could overcome the impression he had made. If Mr. Memmin 
ger had been an English barrister he would have been a great leader in 
Parliament. The soundness of his judgment and great practical sense, 
which seems always to have governed the English Parliament, would 
have given him great prominence there. He would never have gov 
erned the House of Commons as did Lord Chatham, but he would have 
led it like Sir Robert Peel, whom he greatly resembled in many re 
spects. 



CHAPTER Y. 

of 1852. 




|HE partial estrangement between the people of 
South Carolina and the Federal government, which 
had been brought about by the tariff measures and 
Nullification proceedings of 1832, had not been entirely 
removed before the formation of abolition societies at the 
North, and the sympathy expressed for them in Congress, 
produced a new cause of ill-will between the Northern and 
Southern sections and a new danger to the stability of the 
Union. 

The acquisition of the immense territory west of the Mis 
sissippi river and its rapid settlement at once brought about 
the agitation of the slavery question, with all the fanatical 
zeal of the abolitionists and the determined opposition of the 
people of the slave-holding States. The measures adopted 
and the means employed by the abolition societies of the 
North, especially those of the New England States, had pro 
voked in the appeals they made to the slaves and in the 
denunciations of their masters, the people of the Southern 
States, and had called forth the most earnest protests from 
their legislatures and public assemblies. 

While this had been going on for some time and was con 
stantly irritating the minds of the Southern people, it was 
not until the aggressive spirit of the over-zealous philanthro 
pists of the North and their fanatical coadjutors attempted 
by legislation to restrict the rights of the slave-owner in the 
use of his property, and to limit the area in which slavery 
should be permitted to have even a legalized existence, that 
resistance to their procedures and demands came from the 

Southern States. 

f is? ] 



188 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

Unless one becomes familiar with the peculiar energy of 
the Puritan spirit, and has a knowledge of the impudence 
and self-conceit of these most aggressive people, it will be 
difficult to conceive the inspiration that has moved them to 
assume the guardianship of American morals, or to compre 
hend the length to which their zealots have gone in assert 
ing the whims of their social leaders. An illustration of 
this is to be found in the case of one Samuel Hoar, of Mas 
sachusetts, who came to South Carolina as the agent of his 
State in 1844, and formally presented the object of his mis 
sion in a letter addressed to the Governor, in which he 
stated that he had been commissioned by the State of Mas 
sachusetts to test by legal proceedings the constitutionality 
of the act of the Legislature of South Carolina, passed in 
1835, which prohibited the landing of negro seamen or 
" persons of color " employed as sailors at any of the ports 
of the State. 

The letter and mission of Mr. Hoar was referred to the 
Legislature of South Carolina, then in session, by the Gov 
ernor, while Mr. Hoar remained at one of the hotels in 
Columbia, shielded by the presence of his daughter, whose 
sex would command the respect of the people who despised 
the spirit that had prompted the mission of the father. 

The report of the Committee on Federal Relations of the 
House of Representatives, who had considered the letter of 
Mr. Hoar, was made on the 5th of December, and at once 
provoked a discussion which was remarkable in that the 
recommendations of the committee were opposed by only 
one member of the House, who, with all the earnestness of 
his nature and the dispassionate logic of his sound reason 
ing, advocated the policy of allowing the case to be made in 
the courts. This single member of the House of Repre 
sentatives was Mr. Memminger. He maintained, with great 
force of reasoning, that when the argument was properly 
submitted to the Supreme Court the right of South Carolina 



SECESSION MOVEMENT OF 1852. 189 

to adopt such police regulations as were, in the judgment of 
her legislators, necessary to maintain the peace, and to se 
cure the rights of her citizens in property, recognized as 
such by the Constitution of the United States, would be 
sustained by this highest court of adjudicature, and that in 
this manner the question of the citizenship of free negroes 
would be set at rest. He held that the act of 1835 was con 
stitutional, and that South Carolina had nothing to fear in 
meeting the challenge sent to her by Massachusetts to join 
an issue on the question before the Supreme Court. I re 
gret that I have not succeeded in finding a full report of the 
argument of Mr. Memminger as made before the House of 
Representatives in opposition to the report of the committee. 
Gentlemen who heard it assure me that it was among the 
ablest delivered by Mr. Memminger during his career as a 
legislator, and called forth expressions of commendation 
even from those who disagreed with him. 

The following extract from the Journal of the House of 
Representatives gives in full the report of the committee 
and of the action taken by that body. Single and alone Mr. 
Memminger appears upon the record, the only vote in oppo 
sition to the resolutions as reported by the committee. There 
is not such another record in the history of the legislation 
of South Carolina. It expresses more of moral heroism, the 
sterling character, and firm adherence to the honest con 
viction of a sincere man than his biographer could present 
in terms of the English language: 

The Committee on Federal Relations, to whom was referred the com 
munication of his Excellency the Governor, transmitting a letter ad 
dressed to him by Samuel Hoar, an agent of the State of Massachusetts 
for certain purposes, submit the following report : 

By an act passed on the 19th day of December, 1835, the General As 
sembly endeavored to guard against the introduction of free negroes 
and persons of color into this State, upon principles of public policy 
affecting her safety and her most vital interests. The right of excluding 
from their territories conspirators against the public peace, and disaf- 



190 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMM1NGER. 

fected persons whose presence may be dangerous to their safety, is es 
sential to every government. It is everywhere exercised by indepen 
dent States, and there is nothing in the Constitution of the United 
States which forbids to South Carolina the right, or relieves this Legis 
lature from the duty, of providing for the public safety. 

Massachusetts has seen fit to contest this right, and has sent an 
agent to reside in the midst of us, whose avowed object is to defeat a 
police regulation essential to our peace. This agent comes here, not as 
a citizen of the United States, but as the emissary of a foreign govern 
ment hostile to our domestic institutions, and with the sole purpose of 
subverting our internal police. We should be insensible to every dic 
tate of prudence if we consented to the residence of such a missionary, 
or shut our eyes to the consequences of his interference with our domes 
tic concerns. 

The Union of these States was formed for the purpose, among other 
things, of ensuring domestic tranquility and providing for the common 
defense ; and in consideration thereof, this State yielded the right to 
keep troops or ships of war in time of peace without the consent of Con 
gress; but while thus consenting to be disarmed, she has, in no part of 
the constitutional compact, surrendered her right of internal govern 
ment and police ; and, on the contrary thereof, has expressly reserved 
all powers not delegated to the United States, nor prohibited by it to 
the States. 

The State of Massachusetts denominates as citizens those persons for 
whose protection her tender solicitude has devised this extraordinary 
mission. Yet if it were admitted that they are citizens of that State, 
your committee cannot suppose that she will challenge for them greater 
rights, immunities and privileges within our territories than are en 
joyed by persons of the same class in South Carolina. But your com 
mittee deny that they are citizens within the meaning of the Constitu 
tion ; nor did Massachusetts herself treat as citizens persons of this class 
residing within her limits, either at the adoption of the Constitution or 
since ; but, on the contrary, they were subjected to various disabilities, 
from which her other inhabitants were exempt. 

Your committee cannot but regard this extraordinary movement as 
part of a deliberate and concerted scheme to subvert the domestic in 
stitutions of the Southern States, in plain violation of the terms of the 
national compact, and of the good faith which ought to subsist between 
the parties thereto, and to which they stand solemnly pledged. 

Your committee recommend the adoption of the following resolu 
tions: 

Resolved, That the right to exclude from their territories seditious 
persons, or others whose presence may be dangerous to their peace, is 
essential to every independent State, 



SECESSION MOVEMENT OF 1852. 191 

Resolved, That free negroes and persons of color are not citizens of 
the United States within the meaning of the Constitution, which con 
fers upon the citizens of one State the privileges and immunities of 
citizens in the several States. 

Eesolved, That the emissary sent by the State of Massachusetts to 
the State of South Carolina, with the avowed purpose of interfering 
with her institutions and disturbing her peace, is to be regarded in the 
character he has assumed, and to be treated accordingly. 

Resolved, That his Excellency the Governor be requested to expel 
from our territory the said agent, after due notice to depart; and that 
the Legislature will sustain the Executive authority in any measures it 
may adopt for the purpose aforesaid. 

The question was then put, Will the House agree to the report ? and 
it passed in the affirmative Yeas, 117 ; nays, 1. 

The yeas and nays were requested, and are as follows : 

THOSE wno VOTED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE ARE : Hon. William F. Colcock 
(Speaker) and Messrs. J. A. Alston, W. J. Alston, Barnes, Bauskett, 
Beckham, Bedon, Bethea, Joseph A. Black, Wm. C. Black, Blakeney, 
Brooks, Brown, Broyles, Bull, Burrows, Calhoun, Cannon, Carew, Cam, 
Chandler, Chesnut, Cooper, Crawford, Dessaussure, Dickinson, J. G. W. 
Duncan, P. E. Duncan, Ellerbe, English, Ervin, Fair, Fraser, Gowin, 
Gary, Geddes, Geiger, Gibbes, Giles, Griffin, Grimball, Haigler, Hardee, 
Hardin, Edwd. Harleston, John Harleston, Harlee, Herbert, Henry, 
Herndon, Heyward, Holland, Hough, Huger, Hunt, Irby, Jamison, John 
son, J. II. King, H. S. King, Lartigue, Littlejohn, Lucas, McCarthy, 
McCully, McMichael, McMullan, Manning, Maxwell, Mayes, Means, 
Middleton, Miller, Mills, Moody, Mordecai, Noble, Northrop, O Hanlon, 
Orr, E. G. Palmer, P. P. Palmer, Perrin, Phillips, Pinckney, Pope, Porter, 
Poyas, Pressly, Read, Rodgers, Sebring, Seymour, Shingler, W. Gilm. 
Simms, Simons, E. P. Smith, Henry Smith, Joel Smith, Snowden, Strob- 
hart, Stuart, Torre, Traylor, Jas. M. Walker, Tandy Walker, Wallace, 
Ware, Watson, Whaley, Chas. Williams, G. W. Williams, Wilson, Win- 
gard, Yates, and Zimmerman. 

IN THE NEGATIVE : Mr. Memminger. 

The report was then ordered to be sent to the Senate for concur 
rence. 

In 1846, pending the discussion in Congress with regard to 
the negotiation of peace with Mexico, David Wilmot, a Dem 
ocratic member from Pennsylvania, brought forward his 
celebrated proviso, that " as an express and fundamental 
condition to the acquisition of any territory from the re 
public of Mexico by the United States, by virtue of any 



192 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

treaty to be negotiated between them, neither slavery nor 
involuntary servitude shall ever exist except for crime, 
whereof the party shall be first duly convicted." The 
" proviso" was defeated by a small majority in the United 
States Senate. Yet on the termination of the Mexican war 
the practical question involved in the Wilmot proviso, 
whether the introduction of slavery should be allowed or 
prohibited in the territories acquired from Mexico, became 
of prominent interest. 

The attention of the people of South Carolina was drawn 
to these matters year after year in the messages of the Gov 
ernors of the State to the General Assembly, and as often a 
report from the Committee on Federal Relations would bring 
a protest in the form of resolutions against these procedures 
as being in flagrant violation of the provisions of the Fed 
eral Constitution and insulting to the dignity of the State. 
The same feeling of indignation pervaded each of the slave- 
holding States and manifested itself in varied forms of pub 
lic expression. In Mississippi where the zeal of the aboli 
tionists had introduced emissaries who induced the negroes 
to leave their masters and seek an asylum in the free States, 
public meetings were held, and finally a convention of the 
people assembled in 1848 to consider what measures to 
adopt in order to protect their property and secure the 
rights of the slave States. This convention issued an ad 
dress to the people of the several Southern States and in 
vited them to send delegates to a convention to be convened 
at Nashville " to consult in common upon common rights 
with the view to unity of action." Accordingly a conven 
tion of delegates from a few of the States did assemble at 
Nashville in the autumn of 1849, and issued an address to 
the people of the several slave-holding States, calling upon 
them to meet through delegates in a congress with the view of 
adopting such measures as would arrest further aggressions, 



SECESSION MOVEMENT OF 1852. 193 

and if possible restore the constitutional rights of the South, 
and to recommend some provision for their future safety 
and independence. 

The people of California had framed a constitution pro 
hibiting slavery which was presented to Congress early in 
the session of 1850, with a petition praying the admission 
of that territory as a State. This petition at once provoked 
an exciting debate in both Houses of Congress. The South 
ern or slave-holding section demanded the rejection of Cali 
fornia and an amendment to the Constitution that should 
equalize the political power of the free and slave States. 
The question became still more complicated by a claim 
brought forward by Texas to a boundary line that would in 
clude a large part of the territory of New Mexico, and also 
by the application of New Mexico for admission into the 
Union as a State. After a stormy debate a compromise was 
proposed by Mr. Clay in the Senate, which, after a long dis 
cussion, was finally adopted. Under the provisions of this 
compromise California was admitted as a free State, terri 
torial governments were framed for New Mexico and Utah 
without excluding slavery, but leaving its exclusion or admis 
sion to a popular vote of those residing in these territories. 
The boundary line of Texas was established, and the slave 
trade prohibited in the District of Columbia. A stringent 
law was also enacted for the arrest and return of fugitive 
slaves. This compromise was by no means satisfactory to 
the people of the South, nor was it quietly acquiesced in by 
their representatives in Congress. Ten of the senators from 
the Southern States, including Senators Mason and Hunter, 
of Virginia, Soule, of Louisiana, and Jefferson Davis, of Mis 
sissippi, published a protest against the admission of Cali 
fornia after the vote was taken. The "Free-Soil" or aboli 
tion party at the North, appeared to be equally dissatisfied. 

In convention they denounced the concessions to Texas and 
13 



194 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

the refusal to prohibit slavery in New Mexico and Utah, 
and declared the fugitive slave law " unconstitutional, im 
moral and cruel" The excitement which these proceedings 
in Congress provoked in Washington city spread through 
out the country. The manifest intention of the Free-Soil 
party to inaugurate a crusade against slavery, and the ani 
mus evidenced by their representatives in Congress, had 
caused the Legislature of South Carolina, at the session of 
1849, to request the Governor to convene the Legislature, if 
not in session, in the event that any measure should be 
passed by Congress containing the provisions of the Wilmot 
proviso. 

Such was the condition of the public mind when the Gen 
eral Assembly of South Carolina convened on the 25th of 
November, 1850. At the opening of this session Governor 
Seabrook, in his message calling attention to these matters, 
uses the following language: 

At my recommendation, and in pursuance of your own conceptions of 
duty, it was resolved, at your last session, that the Governor be requested 
to convene the Legislature, if not in session, should the Wilmot proviso 
or any kindred measure be passed by Congress. As the contingency to 
which the resolution had reference occurred in September, a profound 
respect for the Executive Department of the Government, and the hon 
orable body by whose mandate I was called to fill it, induce me to say 
in general terms that public considerations of a grave and weighty 
character forbade me from acceding to the wish of the Legislature. 
Independent of the semi-official reasons for this refusal, which have been 
communicated to our fellow-citizens, there were others that, could they 
have been made generally known, would in my judgment have entirely 
appeased the public feeling. I am gratified in being enabled to assure 
you that the correctness of my decision has been almost unanimously 
sustained by the people. 

The last meeting of the Congress of the United States was the most 
eventful and disturbing that has been held since the establishment of 
the Federal government. After many years of unwarrantable legisla 
tion by that body, a crisis has at length arisen in our federal relation 
affecting deeply and essentially the rights and interests of one-half the 
Union. Whether the endangered States should longer hold an equality 
pf rank with their co-partners, and their citizens be prohibited from 



SECESSION MOVEMENT OF 1852. 195 

enjoying all the advantages and privileges constitutionally guaranteed 
to both, were virtually the momentous, and to us humiliating, issues 
which the legislative branch of the central authority was engaged in 
considering for about nine of the ten months in which it was in session. 
The "compromise," ultimately adopted, I consider another triumph over 
the South by the fell spirit of abolitionism. .... 

Although the mind of our community has not been prepared by pub 
lic discussion, or perhaps private interchange of views on the subject, yet 
it is my deliberate opinion that the period has arrived for the removal 
from the State of every free colored person who is not the owner of real 
estate or slave property. This population is not only a non-productive 
class, but it is, and always has been, essentially corrupt and corrupting. 
Their longer residence among us, if the warfare between the North and 
South is to continue, will eventually generate evils very difficult of 
eradication. Possessing in an unlimited degree the right of locomotion, 
they can, in person, bear intelligence in a day from one section of the 
State to another, or through the post-office mature their own plans of 
villainy, as well as execute orders emanating from foreign sources. 
There is, indeed, too much reason to believe that at this moment they 
are made to occupy the situation of spies in our camp and to disseminate 
through the entire body of our slave population the poison of insubordi 
nation prepared in the great laboratory of Northern fanaticism. 

The aggressive course of our Federal rulers, and the States and peo 
ple of the North, had at an earlier period assumed so alarming an aspect 
that by invitation of Mississippi to the slave-holding States nine of their 
number assembled at Nashville in May last for consultation concerning 
the means of saving the Union by preserving inviolate the principles 
and guaranties of the Constitution. Over the deliberations of that au 
gust council, composed largely of the talent and patriotism of the land, 
the spirit of harmony presided. In demanding the protection of rights, 
jeopardized by the unfraternal acts of their own countrymen, they ap 
pealed to their sense of justice and the endearments of family associa 
tion, the plain terms of the bond that united them, the ennobling and 
proud recollections of the past, and the glorious anticipations of the 
future. The result has shown that the authorities and people whom 
they addressed are, in feeling and sentiment, alien to us their political 
allies, and that the North have resolved on possessing the unlimited and 
permanent control of our civil institutions. 

To operate on the fears of the minority section, and expose the sup 
posed hopelessness of its condition, the President had voluntarily pro 
mulgated, in advance, his fixed determination to settle by the sword a 
disputed question between the general government and a sovereign 
member of the Union. In following the inglorious precedent established 
by one of his predecessors, the principle was maintained that State re- 



196 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

sistance to a congressional edict would by him be classed among the un 
reflecting acts of a mob, or the more deliberate opposition of a band of 
organized individuals to admitted lawful authority. 

It is foreign to my purpose to speak elaborately of matters that have 
of late been so painfully brought to your notice. California created a 
State by Congress, was admitted into the confederacy against all prece 
dent, and in violation of the laws and Constitution of the country. It 
was a premeditated insult and injury to the slave-holding States, and a 
wanton assault upon their honor. In the act abolishing the slave trade 
in the District of Columbia, the right of punishing the owner by manu 
mitting his slaves is prominent among its provisions. By this bold and 
successful attempt to engraft abolitionism on the principles of our polit 
ical system, a power has been assumed, which, by expansion, may yet 
clothe the entire federal community in the habiliments of mourning. 
These and other willful perversions of a high trust have virtually abro 
gated the powers necessary to the safety of the sovereignty of the States. 
The whole authority of the Federal government, granted and usurped, 
which is now concentrated in the will of an absolute and interested 
majority, is hereafter to be wielded for the exclusive benefit of the 
Northern or stronger interests. To its ambition and cupidity fifteen 
.members of the Constitutional compact, by whose wealth the govern 
ment is supported and our confederates enriched, are to be compelled 
jgnominiously to minister. In a word, the Congress of the United 
States is no longer to be the executor of the will of co-sovereign States, 
but of a party banded together by the two-fold incentive of sectional 
aggrandizement and public plunder. If the fundamental objects of our 
federative system have been designedly perverted, there is no remedy 
in the ordinary checks on power. The ballot-box is ineffectual, and 
the press powerless in its appeals to an oppressor deaf to entreaty, 
to argument and the admonitions of humanity and patriotism. In 
Federal council it is certain that the voice of the minority will never 
again be heeded. By a slow, cautious, but regular process, the rights 
of the people and the sovereignty of the Southern States will be 
curtailed until their total extinguishment is effected. By multiply 
ing the number of free States, resisting all attempts to enlarge the 
area of the slave-holding community, and discriminating between the 
rights of Northern and Southern persons and property, another de 
cade will not have passed before the general government will enforce 
edicts, greater in their results on human liberty and the progress of 
political enlightenment, than ever emanated from the worst forms of 
despotism. Before that period arrives, the existence of South Carolina 
as co-partner in a great commonwealth will have ceased. Merged in 
the limits of contiguous provinces, the truthful memorials of her history 
will lie scattered over her hills and valleys. On the printed page the 



SECESSION MOVEMENT OF 1853. 197 

tale of her origin and progress may be found, but the real causes and 
manner of her political extinction will never there be read. 

The North and South differ fundamentally in institutions, and from 
the frame-work of their social organization, they need different laws. 
While a strong government with all the appliances of extensive patron 
age is necessary to the former, a mild and equal system of legal re 
straints is required by the latter. The restriction on foreign commerce 
is a policy of the one, free trade that of the other. The North is from 
necessity a commercial and manufacturing people, the South an agri 
cultural community. While the former seeks an enlargement of the 
powers of the Federal government, in order to enable it to profit by the 
wealth of the producing States, the latter, impelled by the principle of 
self-preservation, strives to confine the common agent within well de 
fined and narrow bounds. 

In the one section capital and labor are theoretically equal, but from 
influences perhaps incapable of controlment, they are practically antag 
onistic; in the other, capital is superior to labor, and the relation be 
tween them is a moral one. The character and interests of each insure 
the harmonious action of both in all their operations. These discordant 
materials in our federal structure are mainly, if not exclusively, refera 
ble to the positions respectively assigned the parties by nature. Such 
is the adverse tendency of that position in relation to one of them the 
larger section that it seems to be an imperative duty on its part to 
promote, under the pretence of the general welfare, the success of meas 
ures purely sectional in their application. 

This obstinately perverse proclivity is in reality in strict obedience 
to a political law, the offspring of the moral obliquity of the human 
heart. The lesser, numerically, and richer interests, has always been 
the subject of plunder by the greater and poorer interest. It is his 
torically true, moreover, that in every confederacy where the principle 
of the concurrent majority is not practically recognized, the centri- 
petral is stronger than the centrifugal tendency of the parties; fur 
ther, that in the legislative branch of the government all usurpa 
tions generally commence and are ultimately acquiesced in by the 
other departments. In relation to our Federal institutions, the Con 
stitution in its most important provisions, has in effect been so es 
sentially changed, that the Union created by it no longer exists. Its 
guaranties from the revolution which has been practically accom 
plished over us have been overthrown, and a consolidated govern 
ment having its discretion and will as the measure of its powers, is now 
the government of the Union. Every compromise too into which 
the South has entered, including the compromises incorporated yi the 
great charter of the public liberties, has been utterly disregarded. By 
legislative devices, our people now, as heretofore, are not only in effect 



198 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

despoiled, of the profits of their industry, but their contributions to the 
public purso continue to be expended in unjust proportions, to further 
the interests of their revilers and sappers of their domestic altars. 
While by congressional enactments the North in the various branches 
of industry have been forced into a condition of unexampled wealth 
and power, the advancement of the South, so prodigally furnished by 
nature with all the elements of prosperity and greatness, has occupied 
a position far below that it would have reached had the confederation 
been composed of one people in interest and feeling. The North and 
South, in the palmy days of the Republic, both reverenced and loved 
the Union for the immeasurable blessings it insured. Unhappily it is 
now maintained by the former to effectuate its long-cherished design 
the disfranchisement and degradation or the latter. 

If asked for the evidence of these grave accusations against the gov 
ernments and people, whose support and friendship we once so dearly 
valued, I point with grief of heart to the often perpetrated or attempted 
encroachments by Congress on the reserved rights of the States; the 
incendiary resolutions of State legislatures; the sweeping denuncia 
tions emanating from different associations, formed for the special end 
of carrying throughout our borders the torch of insurrection ; the bit 
ter and vindictive feelings of the press, the bar, and, I may add, the 
pulpit; the inflammatory harangues at popular meetings; the actual 
robbery of millions of our slave property by emissaries, not only with 
out an effort by the Northern State governments to enforce the prcH 
visions of the Constitution concerning fugitives "held to labor," but by 
the authority of law and the force of public opinion encouraging and 
sustaining these fanatical exhibitions of public sentiment; the annihi 
lation, at a blow, of the principle of State equality, by the exclusion of 
one-half the citizens of the confederacy from all participation in the 
newly-acquired domain ; the violation of a great sectional compromise 
by the dismemberment of a Southern member of the Union, in order, at 
a convenient season, to carve from its bosom a free and hostile State; 
in fine, the unceasing assaults upon the character of the slave-holder by 
all classes, in public and in private, as an enemy to God and man as 
unworthy of a seat at the table of the Lord, or to enjoy as co-partners 
the noblest bequest ever inherited by freemen. The ultimate object of 
this consentaneous movement, in which governments and people are 
the actors, is the emancipation of the negro throughout the region in 
which he is constitutionally held as property, although its execution 
may consign to the same grave the master and the slave, and spread 
desolation over their common home. 

"While I rejoice in the conviction that a large number of individuals 
at the North do entertain conservative opinions on the matter of slave 
property, and whose voice is occasionally heard in the uproar of the 



SECESSION MOVEMENT OF 1852. 199 

waters of strife, yet, overawed by the impetuosity df the torrent which 
is perhaps destined to overwhelm the land, they involuntarily shrink 
from the task of attempting to stay its progress. The instances are 
rare in which, where the effort has been made, deprivation of office, or 
other mark of displeasure and rebuke, did not quickly follow. This of 
itself, if proof were needed, proclaims the deep-seatedness and all-per 
vading character of the disease which affects the body politic of that 
extensive and populous region. 

For about one-third of her political existence South Carolina has 
presented an almost uninterrupted scene of disquietude and excite 
ment, under the provocation of contumelies and threats poured from a 
thousand tongues and in forms the most offensive. During that period 
it may with truth be affirmed that the public mind has not for a year 
been free from the most painful solicitude. Peace indeed has long fled 
from our borders, and discontent and alarm are everywhere present. 
Better, far better, it would have been, for the South to engage in deadly 
conflict with the North, than to have endured the torturing anxiety of 
an anomalous struggle, the consequences of which are beyond the ken 
of human prescience. An open war is limited by the causes which pro 
duce it, but the further continuance of such a war political, religious, 
and social as has been waged by one party against the other, and in 
which a strictly defensive attitude has unwaveringly been preserved by 
the weaker, would falsify and dishonor the history of the Anglo-Saxon 
race. Whatever may be said by the demagogue and the fanatic, it is 
our pride and high privilege to declare that the unexampled forbear 
ance of the South is referable solely to its unaffected devotion to the 
compact of 89 and the principles of constitutional liberty. 

As soon as the message of Governor Seabrook had been 
read to the House, Mr. Memminger offered the following 
resolutions, which were ordered to be considered imme 
diately, and were agreed to: 

Whereas, it becomes a Christian people at all times to look to the 
King of kings for guidance, but more especially in seasons of trial and 
difficulty; and, whereas, the enactments of the last Congress of the 
United States have destroyed the equal rights of the Southern States, 
have invaded the peace and security of our homes, and must lead to an 
overthrow of the existing order of things; therefore, 

Resolved, That we recommend to the people of South Carolina to set 
apart Friday, the 6th of December, as a day of fasting and humiliation, 
and that the reverend clergy throughout the State be invited to assem 
ble their respective congregations on that day to unite in prayer to 
Almighty God that He may direct and aid this General Assembly in 



200 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

devising such means as will conduce to the best interests and welfare of 
our beloved State. 

2. Eesolved, That religious services and a sermon appropriate to the 
occasion be had in the hall of the House of Representatives, and that 
a fitting clergyman be invited to officiate. 

3. Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed on the part of 
this House, and that a message be sent to the Senate proposing the 
appointment of a like committee to meet the committee of this House, 
for the purpose of carrying into effect these resolutions. 

No one could have more fully appreciated the momentous 
character of the proceedings, which Mr. Memminger knew 
would make this session of the Legislature the most impor 
tant of the many in which he had served as the faithful 
representative of an intelligent constituency. He was not 
recognizing a mere form, or was he simply respecting a cus 
tom among Christian people, when he offered the foregoing 
preamble and resolutions. As a sincere Christian believer 
one who all through his life feared God, who accepted the 
Bible as His revealed will, and who trusted in His omniscient 
care and mercy, he desired His divine guidance under cir 
cumstances which manifestly threatened the peace of the 
country and the happiness of his people. 

The sermon referred to in these resolutions was delivered 
by the Rev. Whiteford Smith, D. D., an eloquent and learned 
clergyman of the Methodist Church. It must have been a 
discourse of great power, so fully meeting the suggestions of 
the occasion that by a resolution of the House twenty-five 
thousand copies were ordered to be printed. 

At no time in the previous history of the State, unless it 
be that in which the Nullification measures were under dis 
cussion, was there a more wide-spread or a deeper feeling of 
resistance to the action of Congress and the procedures of 
the abolitionists, as the adherents of the Free-Soil party were 
generally known. 

Secession from the Union was not only freely discussed 
as a right, but it was now demanded by its advocates as the 



SECESSION MOVEMENT OF 1852. 201 

only remedy for existing grievances. The large majority of 
the people did not deny the right, and were only divided 
among themselves as to the expediency of asserting it by the 
separate action of the State. Those who were the advocates 
of immediate and separate State action, from the vehement 
and fiery appeals made by them to the people, came to be 
known as " Fire-Eaters. " They wished to dissolve at once 
all connection with the Federal Union and declare South 
Carolina an independent republic. There was a larger and 
more conservative class of citizens, who, while they admit 
ted the grievances complained of and did not deny the right 
of the State to withdraw from the Union and assume at 
pleasure a sovereignty, which had only been delegated, yet 
they were opposed to the policy of separate State action as 
being inexpedient and unwise. They desired the Southern, 
or slave-holding States, to act together, united in a common 
cause and impelled by a common interest. There was also 
a small party who were for preserving the Union of the 
States under any and all circumstances men, who, like 
Mr. Petigru, believed that the Union was stronger than 
slavery, and that there could be no remedy for the evils 
they recognized to exist outside of the compromise legisla 
tion of Congress. These had generally been Federalists and 
Whigs, but were now known as Unionists. 

The address to the people of the Southern States issued 
by the Mississippi Convention, and the call for a Southern 
Congress made by the convention at Nashville, produced a 
great excitement throughout the country. There was scarcely 
a meeting of the people held for any purpose but reference 
was made to the action of Congress, and the secession of the 
State either advocated or opposed. It may be readily in 
ferred that much of this excitement was brought from the 
hustings into the legislative assembly of 1850, the delegates 
to- which being chosen under the influences of the debates 



202 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

upon this all-absorbing subject. Mr. Memminger was, from 
the deliberate convictions of his judgment, opposed to sepa 
rate State action, and was among the leaders of the " Co-ope 
ration Party," who hoped that in a general Congress of the 
Southern States there could be such action taken as would 
remedy the grievances of which the South had just reason 
to complain, and who deprecated secession as the sure means 
of provoking civil war. He held, with Mr. Calhoun, that 
the relations existing between the several States were de 
fined in the Constitution of the Union as a compact of agree 
ment, which one or more might have the right to withdraw 
from; but that the other States, as parties to this compact, 
had the right to determine for themselves the question as to 
whether the seceding State or States had sufficient grounds 
to withdraw from the compact of association, and by coer 
cive measures, if deemed necessary, to force the seceding 
State to remain a party to the co-partnership or confedera 
tion in the event that they should determine that the com 
pact had been broken without just and sufficient cause. In 
other words, that while secession from the Union was a right, 
it was a revolutionary right, and, under the circumstances 
then investing the State of South Carolina, would result in 
war. Assured of this, the question of grave consideration 
with Mr. Memminger was, is the State ready to meet the 
consequences of secession? is South Carolina prepared in 
resources to maintain her right of secession if it should be 
resisted? 

Believing that in a Congress of the Southern States such 
measures could be instituted as would bring about either an 
adjustment of the causes of complaint or secure the co-ope 
ration of all of the Southern States in the act of secession, 
Mr. Memminger, at an early period in the discussion of the 
bill to call a convention of the people, introduced the fol 
lowing preamble and order: 



SECESSION MOVEMENT OF 1852. 203 

Whereas the convention of the slave-holding States lately held in 
Nashville hath recommended the meeting of a Southern Congress; and, 
whereas, the State of Mississippi hath taken such action thereupon as 
will necessarily postpone the meeting of said Congress beyond the day 
appointed by the Constitution for the reassembling of this General As 
sembly in November next; and, whereas, it is proper that the meeting 
of the Southern Congress should precede any action of a convention of 
the people of this State; therefore, it is ordered, That the further con 
sideration of the bill before this House providing for the call of a con 
vention of the people of this State, be postponed until the Monday next 
ensuing the first day of the session of this General Assembly in Novem 
ber next. 

This order was not agreed to, the vote being forty-seven 
to seventy-four. It now became manifest that the House 
was determined to call a convention. Several bills having 
this object in view and providing for the election of delegates 
to a Southern Congress were introduced and discussed at 
length. Finally these were all embodied in a substitute 
presented by Mr. James H. Campbell, providing for the 
appointment of a certain number of delegates by the Legis 
lature, and the election of others by the people, who should 
represent South Carolina in a convention or congress to be 
held at such time and place as the States desiring to be rep 
resented may designate; and, furthermore, providing for a 
convention of the people of South Carolina, at Columbia, at 
such time as the Governor may appoint. 

Upon the adjournment of the Legislature the all-absorbing 
subject brought before the people was that of secession. 
Candidates were soon announced for the office of delegate to 
the Southern Congress, and the issue fairly made as to 
whether South Carolina should withdraw from the Union 
alone, or wait until she could secure the co-operation of her 
sister Southern States. There had never been known so 
great an excitement among the people of the State. Mass 
meetings of citizens were held in the several districts, and 
the people addressed at length by speakers who were either 
secessionists or co-operationists. At the solicitation of the 



204 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

Conservative party at Greenville and at Pendleton, Mr. 
Memminger visited these places in the spring and summer 
of 1851, delivering at each place an address, which was con 
strued by the extreme Secessionists as being in advocacy of 
separate State action. Considering that the reports of these 
addresses were misrepresentations of his real convictions, on 
his return to Charleston, in the month of September, Mr. 
Memminger delivered an address at a public meeting of the 
friends of Co-operation, called for the purpose of nominating 
delegates to the Southern Congress. This address was one 
of great force, and had much to do in arresting the tide of 
passion which appeared to be bearing on its flood the desti 
nies of the State. Many copies of it were printed by the 
Executive Committee of the Co-operation Party, and widely 
distributed throughout the State. I reproduce it here as 
presenting the state of feeling not only, but as giving to the 
reader the argument, which was then strong enough to over 
come the advocates of separate and immediate State action. 

Fellow Citizens, I rise to move the adoption of the address and nomi 
nation which has just been submitted. I rejoice that the committee 
have united in recommending two gentlemen, so well known to us, by a 
life of public service and of devotion to the public interest. In the stake 
which they have in the community, and in their common sympathies 
and opinions, we feel they are thoroughly united with us, and to their 
integrity and zeal for the public good, we can safely entrust our dear 
est interests. 

It may not have occurred to all who hear me that this election is of 
great importance to our State. Casual observation might lead to the 
belief that inasmuch as this Congress will probably never meet, it is 
useless to make any selection as to the men who are to be its nominal 
members. But let it be borne in mind that a convention of the people 
of this State has been ordered by the Legislature, which will probably 
meet before any further expression can be had of the public voice. The 
delegates to this convention have been elected by a mere fragment of 
the people, at a time when they were not aware of the momentous 
issues before them. This convention will undertake to decide the 
gravest question ever brought before a people, namely the change of 
the whole frame-work of government ; and not only this, but the equally 



SECESSION MOVEMENT OF 1852. 205 

grave, if not graver question, whether a new nation shall take her place 
among the nations of the world. Upon these great questions, which of 
you fellow-citizens had made up your minds when you voted for dele 
gates ? Nay, how many of you voted at all ? The delegates elected 
represent about one-fourth of the voters of our district, and many of 
them do not represent more than three or four hundred voters out of 
three thousand. 

The same small minorities elected delegates in nearly every district 
in the State, and a convention thus created is about to seal our destiny. 
The present election furnishes the only probable opportunity before the 
meeting of this convention for the people to declare their will. It has 
been loudly asserted that a majority of our people are in favor of imme 
diate secession from the Union, and both parties have turned to this 
election to assertain the fact. You will perceive then at once that if 
the advocates of secession elect the members to the Southern Congress, 
it will confirm this assertion and in all probability will induce them to 
carry out their measure as speedily as the convention can be assembled. 
You are, therefore, in fact now determining the question whether South 
Carolina shall at once secede alone from the Union. 

In deciding this question it is important that all barriers should be 
removed, which prevent you from looking directly into its whole merits. 
One of the most formidable of these barriers is an impression that the 
State stands committed by pledges to take separate action, which as 
men of honor her citizens are bound to redeem. Let us, therefore, in the 
first place examine the facts, and see how and to what extent the State 
stands committed. 

TVe will go back as far as 1848, although that date is two years ahead 
of the late action of Congress. At the session of the Legislature in 
December, 1848, the following report and resolutions contain the action 
to which the State was pledged : 

[Extracts from the Reports and Resolutions, 1818, p. 147, Joint Committee on Federal 

Relations.] 

In the House of Representatives, December 12, 1848, the Joint Com 
mittee of the Senate and House of Representatives upon Federal Rela 
tions, to whom were referred so much of the Governor s message as re 
lates to the agitation of slavery and sundry resolutions upon the same 
subject, beg leave to report the following resolutions as expressing the 
undivided opinion of this Legislature upon the Wilmot proviso, and all 
similar violations of the great principle of equality, which South Caro 
lina has so long and so ardently maintained should govern the action of 
the States and the laws of Congress upon all matters affecting the 
rights and interests of any member of this Union., 

Resolved, unanimously, That the time for discussion by the slave- 
holding States as to their exclusion from the territory recently acquired 



206 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGEM. 

from Mexico has passed, and that this General Assembly, representing 
the feelings of the State of South Carolina, is prepared to co-operate with 
her sister States in resisting the application of the principles of the Wil- 
mot proviso to such territory at an^ and every hazard. 

Kesolved, unanimously, That the Governor be requested to transmit 
a copy of this report to the Governors of each of the States of this Union 
and to our Senators and Representatives in the Congress of the United 
States. 

Mark the words : " South Carolina is prepared to co-operate with her 
sister States." This is the whole extent of our pledge in 1S4S. 

In 1849 the subject was brought before the Legislature by the Gov 
ernor, and each house had a report from its own committee, and it is 
quite remarkable that in each separate report separate State action is 
not once alluded to, but each recommends concert of action with the 
other States of the South. Read the reports for yourselves, which, for 
your information, I have copied verbatim from the record. 

[Extracts from the Reports and Resolutions, 1849, pp. 312, 313, 314.J 
In the Senate, December 13, 1849 : The Committee on Federal Rela 
tions, to whom was referred so much of the message of his Excellency 
the Governor as relates to the recommendation of the people of the 
State of Mississippi for a convention of the people of the Southern States, 
to be held in Nashville in June next, and also so much of the message as 
relates to convening the Legislature of this State in the event of the pas 
sage by Congress of the AVilmot proviso, or any kindred measure, beg 
leave to report that they cordially concur with the views expressed by 
his Excellency the Governor as to the necessity on the part of the South 
ern people of a united action against the encroachments upon their 
domestic institutions and their condition of equality in this confederacy 
by the people of the North and by the Congress of the United States, and 
rejoice with him in the lofty and dignified position assumed by the peo 
ple of the State of Mississippi against any such infractions of the compro 
mises of the Constitution, and the appeal which she has made to the peo 
ple of her sister States of the South to unite with her in common counsel 
against common aggression. The committee are of the opinion expressed 
by this Legislature, at its last session, that the period of decisive action 
has arrived, and that the authorities of South Carolina should be pre 
pared promptly to take such steps as the other States of the South shall 
recommend and her own position demands. The committee, therefore, 
in conformity with their own opinions, and, as they believe, with the 
expressed and understood wishes of this Legislature and of the people 
of the whole State, recommend for adoption the following resolutions: 
Resolved, That in the event of the passage by Congress of the AVilmot 
proviso, or any kindred measures, that his Excellency the Governor be 



SECESSION MOVEMENT OF 1852. 207 

requested to forthwith convene the Legislature, in order to take such 
steps as the rights, interests and honor of this State and of the whole 
South shall demand. 

Eesolved, That the Senate do agree to the report. 

Ordered, That it be sent the House of Representatives for concur 
rence. 

By order. W. E. MARTIN, C. S. 

In the House of Representatives, December 19, 1849: 

Resolved, That the House do concur in the report. 

Ordered, That it be returned to the Senate. 

By order. T. W. GLOVER, C. II. R. 

In the House of Representatives, December 18, 1849 : The Committee 
on Federal Relations, to whom was referred so much of the Governor s 
message as relates to the recommendation to the Southern States, by a 
convention of the people of Mississippi, to send delegates to meet at 
Nashville to consult in common upon common rights, with a view to 
unity of action. 

And, also, so much of the message as relates to the convening of the 
Legislature upon the Wilmot proviso, or any kindred measure, becom 
ing a law of Congress, report that the people of this State entertain an 
ardent desire and fixed determination to resist the lawless and unjust 
encroachments of Congress on the rights of the South, and have pledged 
themselves, through their legislatures, to co-operate with the other 
Southern States in opposition to all such measures. They, therefore, 
concur with his Excellency in the belief that South Carolina hails with 
delight the proffer by the people of Mississippi of meeting, by delegates, 
in common counsels, at Nashville, and will heartily and promptly send 
delegates there to represent them; that they concur, also, with his 
Excellency in the propriety of calling together the Legislature should 
any such contingency occur, as is alluded to by his Excellency, and 
therefore recommend the adoption of the following resolutions : 

Resolved, That should the Wilmot proviso, or any kindred measure, 
become a law of Congress, the Governor is hereby earnestly requested 
to call together the Legislature, should it not be in session at the time 
of the passage of such law. 

Resolved, That the House do agree to the report. 

Ordered, That it be sent to the Senate for concurrence. 

By order. 

T. W. GLOVER, C. H. R. 

In Senate, December 19, 1849 : 

Resolved, That the Senate do concur in the report. 

Ordered, That it be returned to the House of Representatives. 

By order, 

W, E. MARTIN, C. S, 



208 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

It is important to observe how carefully the Senate insist upon "the 
necessity, on the part of the Southern people, of a united action against 
the encroachments of the North," and declare this State to be prepared 
" promptly to take such steps as the other States of the South shall 
recommend." With equal care the House of Eepresentatives declares 
that " the people of this State have pledged themselves, through their 
legislatures, to co-operate with the other Southern States in opposition 
to all such measures." 

Here, then, are all the pledges of South Carolina. They are distinct 
and definite for co-operation with our sister States of the South. Not 
one word is there of separate State action or secession. 

The proceedings of the session of 1850 strengthen this view of the 
subject. At this session no resolutions were adopted, but several lead 
ing measures distinctly evince the position of the State. The first of 
these measures was the act calling a convention and Southern Congress. 
The preamble to this act, as well as its provisions, manifestly speak the 
views of the Legislature. 

The act is entitled, an act to provide for the appointment of Depu 
ties to a Southern Congress, and to call a Convention of the people of 
this State ; and here is its preamble : 

"Whereas, the convention of the slave-holding States, lately assem 
bled at Nashville, have recommended to the said States to meet in Con 
gress or Convention, to be held at such time and place as the States de 
siring to be represented may designate, to be composed of double the 
number of their Senators and Eepresentatives in the Congress of the 
United States, entrusted with full power and authority to deliberate 
with the view and intention of arresting further aggressions, and, if 
possible, of restoring the constitutional rights of the South; and, if not, 
to recommend due provision for their future safety and independence." 

And what is the declared object of this convention ? By the terms of 
the act itself, it is assembled " for the purpose, in the first place, of tak 
ing into consideration the proceedings and recommendations of a Con 
gress of the slave-holding States, if the same shall meet and beheld; 
and for the further purpose of taking into consideration the general 
welfare of this State, in view of her relations to the laws and govern 
ment of the United States, and, thereupon, to take care that the Com 
monwealth of South Carolina shall suffer no detriment." 

Is it in the power of human ingenuity, with these proceedings open 
before you, to persuade you now that South Carolina is pledged to seces 
sion? Nay, is it not most clear that she is pledged exactly to the re 
verse to concert and union with her sister States? 

If there were any doubt remaining, it would be dispelled by the fact 
that when the Legislature elected, at the last session, the delegates who 
were to represent the State at large in this Southern Congress, they 



SECESSION MOVEMENT OF 1852. 209 

elected R. W. Barnwell, Langdon Cheves, Wade Hampton, and John P. 
Richardson, all of whom, at the time, were supposed to be opposed to 
separate secession, and three of whom still maintain the same opinions. 

While we have before us these same records of the action and pledges 
of our State, let us examine another of the statements by which the 
secession party have misled the people. Those who oppose secession are 
continually traduced as insincere in their professions of resistance ; the 
people are told everywhere that the Co-operation party are mere time- 
servers, disguised submissionists, and that Secessionists alone are the 
real active movers of resistance. Let us test the professions of both 
parties by their practice, and we shall arrive at more just conclusions. 
At the last, session of the Legislature three practical measures were 
brought forward which were deemed necessary to resistance in any form. 
The first of these was the raising of money by increase of the taxes ; 
the second, the formation of a board for judiciously expending the 
money; and, the third, the building of steam-packets for creating a 
direct trade with Europe, and providing the State with armed steamers 
to assist in defending her coast. 

You are, of course, prepared to expect that these measures were 
introduced and urged by the secession leaders ; what will be your sur 
prise to learn that, they were all introduced by co-operation men, and 
two of them were actually opposed by several of the most prominent 
secession men ; and if this opposition had been successful, the third 
would have failed, because it depended upon one of the others. 

The increase of taxes was proposed by myself, and in and out of the 
House it was urged as incumbent on South Carolina, where alone the 
resistance party had possession of the government, to provide arms and 
munitions of war, not only for herself, but for the confederates which 
we expected soon to have from the South. It had been urged by the 
Union party in several of our sister States that in case of conflict with 
the general government, there was not powder enough in the whole 
South to supply a single engagement. Nay, some of you may remember 
that even in South Carolina the Governor had replied to a company at 
Walterborough that he was unable to supply them with arms. To meet 
these exigencies, to encourage our friends in the South, and to exhibit 
to our enemies at the North a spirit of determination which could not be 
put down, we urged an increase of the taxes. Let the record speak what 
followed. I have copied the following from the Journal (page 221) : 

" Mr. Harrison moved to reduce the tax on lands from fifty-three to 
twenty-five cents. Mr. Memminger moved to lay the amendment on the 
table yeas 74, nays 38. Among the nays are the following names- 
Messrs. Abney, Easley, Evins, Harrison, Hutson, Ingram, Lyles, Moor 
man," etc. Those acquainted with the names will recognize among the 
nays the active legislative leaders of the secession party. 



210 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

You will see still further into these matters by examining the legis 
lative action upon another practical measure of the last session. This 
was the bill for aiding in establishing a direct trade by steam-packets 
with Europe, in which was a clause giving the aid of the State to this 
enterprise on condition that the steamers should be so built as to be 
available to the State for war purposes, and should be sold to the State 
in case they were required. This measure was introduced by Colonel 
Chesnut, of Camden, who is now the Co-operation candidate for the 
Southern Congress from the Third Congressional District. It was re 
ported by the committee of which I have the honor to be chairman ; and 
when it came before the House the following proceedings took place. 

House Journal, p. 163 : " B. F. Perry moved to strike out the nine 
teenth clause and those following (which granted the aid of the State 
and required the steamers to be so constructed as to be made available 
for war purposes). Yeas 41, nays 60. Among the yeas are the following 
Messrs. Abney, Hutson, Keitt, Moorman, Sullivan," etc. 

Now when it is considered that these were the practical measures 
which clearly exhibited to all the world our determination to provide 
for our defense, and that the establishment of a direct trade with Europe 
by steamers was in every aspect an effective measure of resistance, it is 
not surprising that Mr. Perry, of Greenville, should have opposed it, but 
to find the secession leaders joining with him to oppose the first nucleus 
of maritime defense, the first beginnings of practical resistance, will 
doubtless surprise you as much as it did us. 1 

I have thus laid before you, fellow-citizens, the highest evidence pos 
sible; and if anyone shall again speak to you of the pledges of the 
State, or of the submissive temper of the Co-operation men, you can 
reply that the State is indeed pledged, but that the pledge is to co-ope 
ration and against separate action ; and as to the comparison between 
the active zeal of the two parties, you can safely appeal to the acts of 
those who represent your views ; the record will speak for them, and will 



1 NOTE. The other practical measure, appointing a Board of Ordnance, was introduced 
by Mr. Torre, of Charleston, one of the firmest advocates of co-operation, and opposed to se 
cession. The yeas and nays not appearing on this measure in the Journal, I made no note of 
it, and it thus escaped my attention in my speech. I also omitted to notice that I had myself 
submitted to the House the following resolutions to indicate my view of the course to be pur 
sued by the State : 

" In the House of Representatives, December 10, 1850, Mr. Memminger submitted the fol 
lowing resolutions : 

"1. Resolved, That the proposal of the Nashville Convention that the slave-holding 
States shall meet iii a Southern Congress, is accepted by South Carolina, and this General As 
sembly will forthwith provide for the appointment of deputies to the same. 

"2. Resolved, That two hundred thousand dollars be appropriated for the purpose of 
arming and defending the State. 

"3. Resolved, That a police system be established for protecting our people, bond and 
free, from the evil designs of Northern emissaries and abolitionists." 



SECESSION MOVEMENT OF 1853. 211 

relieve you from the necessity of being heralds of your own achieve 
ments. 

While engaged in this task of clearing away cobwebs, allow me to 
ask your attention for a moment to a matter personal to myself. I am 
sorry to detain you upon so humble a subject, while matters of so much 
more moment await our consideration ; but as the opposite party have 
thought it worthy of their attention, it becomes needful to set it right. 
I observe that the Secession party have done me the honor to publish 
my speech delivered at Pendleton last fall, as one of their tracts, and 
thereby inferentially to claim my sanction to their measures. I pre 
sume this honor to have been procured by the last short paragraph of 
the speech, in which it is declared that if all the South shall refuse to 
unite with us, and we be left to choose between submission and resist 
ance, I, for one, would prefer to secede from the Union. 

Let it be borne in mind that I was speaking of the action of States 
in whose history years are but as days to individuals that the whole 
drift of the speech is to commend resistance, and to show that a South 
ern Confederacy is the true and practicable and desirable mode. The 
example of the revolution is then held up for imitation, in which, be it 
remembered, that more than ten years were consumed in procuring con 
cert of action ; and then it is declared that if such concert cannot be 
had, I would prefer martyrdom to self-destruction. By what reasonable 
interpretation could this justify an abandonment of the effort at co-ope 
ration in a single year, and that too when the Secessionists have them 
selves prevented the steps necessary to procure it. 

You yourselves know, fellow-citizens, that in a speech delivered be 
fore you upon hearing of the death of Mr. Calhoun, I urged you to ac 
cept the legacy which he had left us of resistance according to his views, 
and strongly urged upon you the example and measures of the Ameri 
can Revolution. If in my speech at Pendleton I was unguarded in not 
including the element of time, it was because I spoke as many of our 
friends, the Secessionists, still do, under the impulse of deep-felt wrongs. 
I was urging on the mountain population to resist injustice, the pres 
sure of which was less realized where few slaves existed; and under 
these feelings words were not carefully weighed, nor possible miscon 
structions guarded against. But now that the matter is under sober 
consideration, now that I am told what use is made of the language, I 
unhesitatingly declare that be the language what it may, my deliberate 
judgment is against the separate secession of South Carolina. I have 
an abiding confidence that the slave-holding States will co-operate with 
each other, and that a union of the South will be formed in spite of 
every obstacle ; and these views I urged upon the last Legislature when 
I opposed the call of a convention. I have no sympathy with that con 
sistency which adheres to an opinion merely because it has been once 
expressed; the only consistency which I aim at,. is that of right 



212 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

Be all this, therefore, as it may, the true inquiry now to be made, is 
as to the fitness and expediency of the policy to be pursued by the peo 
ple of South Carolina. Shall we secede alone from the Union and set 
up as an independent nation, or shall we adopt measures to bring about 
a union of the South ? 

To determine this question we must examine what are the existing 
evils for which these measures are proposed as remedies. It is agreed 
on all hands that the true evil pressing against us, is that the Federal 
government has been perverted from its original foundation to become 
an engine of attack upon African slavery, and thus threatens destruc 
tion to the civilization and social institutions of the South. The first 
blow has been struck in despoiling us of our equal share of the territory 
conquered by our united arms and purchased by our common funds; 
and the object intended by the Wilmot proviso of hemming in slavery 
and preventing any increase of the slave power, has been in fact con 
summated in California. It has been long foreseen by our wisest states 
men, and by none more clearly than by that great and faithful cham 
pion of the South whose ashes repose in our city and whose counsels 
should be engraven on our memories, that there exists an irreconcilable 
difference between the North and the South, which soon or late must 
come to issue. The area upon which their respective institutions should 
be developed, has hitherto been the field of battle. New States were 
formed from this area, and upon their introduction on one side the other 
endeavored immediately to bring forward a counterpoise. In this way 
the issue has been postponed as it were by repeated truces, and it was 
hoped by many that the Missouri compromise would form a line of per 
manent peace. And so it would have done with the South. The North 
would not abide by it. But power and fanaticism are always aggressive; 
and the Wilmot proviso was devised as a means of finally overpowering 
the South. It simply provided that slavery should be excluded from all 
newly acquired territory ; and the result must follow that every new 
State would belong to the North. Thus they would acquire the entire 
control of the government, and according to their views of the Constitu 
tion, over the destinies and fortunes of the South. 

The stupendous fraud by which the whole Pacific coast was included 
in a single State, was compensated to the North by a second fraud, 
whereby slavery was excluded from all this region, and California was 
admitted into the Union with precisely the same result as would have 
followed had the Wilmot proviso been originally adopted. Of course 
the North was content; they can divide it at their leisure into other 
States, and with the aid of new votes in the Senate, can dispose of the 
remaining territories of the United States at their pleasure. The evil 
is accomplished it is indeed of fearful magnitude. But where is the 
remedy ? 



SECESSION MOVEMENT OF 1852. 213 

The Secessionists say leave the Union and set up for ourselves the 
independent nation of South Carolina. How will this give us back our 
right in California? Plow will it give us our portion of Utah, or New 
Mexico, or any new territory to be acquired ? How will it enable us to 
expand in Texas and send our surplus population or our slave institu 
tions to increase the area and power of slavery? And more than all 
this, how will it give peace and security in future to the institutions and 
civilization of the South ? 

On the other hand, the Co-operationists propose to unite the South in 
a common cause, and to demand for themselves equality in the Union or 
independence out of it. They propose to demand a restoration of their 
equal share of California, a participation in the remaining territory of 
the Union, and security from their co-States for the peaceful enjoyment 
of their rights; and if these be refused, as they have reason to fear they 
will be, then that the whole South should form an independent confed 
eracy and protect and defend themselves as best they can. 

The mere statement of these two plans so completely determines the 
mind in favor of the latter that the Secession party itself is forced to 
defend secession as being the best means of producing a union and co 
operation of the South. Therefore, the first inquiry we shall make is, 
whether this be so? Will the separate secession of South Carolina 
conduce to the union and co-operation of the South ? 

What is secession from the Union ? It is departing from the Union ; 
leaving the company of the States which compose that Union ; and as 
the Southern States form part of that company, we abandon them in 
common with the rest. Secession is, therefore, the opposite of co-opera- 
tfon, and yet we are told that to leave a society is the best mode of pro 
ducing concert with those who are thus abandoned. The mere state 
ment of such a proposition seems to decide it. 

But let us examine it more in detail. Secession must either be 
peaceful or attended with war. Suppose it peaceful. Suppose the gen 
eral government to withdraw all objection and South Carolina to be 
peacefully established as a separate nation. How will that conduce to 
the union of the South? I will hereafter consider how such a condition 
will affect South Carolina herself. Our present inquiry is limited to its 
effect upon the other Southern States. 

Each one of the Southern States has definitely evinced its determina 
tion not to leave the Union for existing grievances. Although some of 
them are deeply discontent, yet have they all determined to remain in 
the Union in preference to leaving it now and establishing a new con 
federacy. What is to change this determination? Are we to suppose 
that they entertain so high a sense of the wisdom of South Carolina that 
her judgment will over-rule their own ? Let any man cross the Savan 
nah river, and if he ever entertained so high a conceit of his own State, 



214 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGE&. 

he will soon find that Georgia at least does not concur fti it. Test the 
matter by seeing how far the opinion and judgment of the State of 
Georgia has influenced us. She has determined, by an overwhelming 
vote in a convention solemnly called, that she deems it wisest to remain 
in the Union. Has this decision convinced us or induced us to adopt it ? 
How then are we to expect that our convention will produce a greater 
effect upon them ? 

Is the measure of secession itself, if peaceably carried out, calculated 
to overcome the repugnance of Georgia or the other Southern States ? 
The secession leaders gravely propose that our ports shall be opened to 
free trade, and that South Carolina shall become a great den of compe 
tition for smugglers from the adjacent States. How is such a scheme 
likely to be received by all those engaged in fair trade in the Southern 
States ? Would it not rouse every honest trader throughout the South ? 
Could Savannah, and Augusta, and Wilmington, and Mobile, and New 
Orleans allow such a condition of things to continue, and would those 
who endeavor to force it upon them be regarded by the sufferers as 
friends with whom they are to join in concert ? Human nature must 
change before measures of this kind can have any other effect than to 
deepen hatred and widen breaches. 

But let us take the other alternative the alternative which is far 
more likely to occur. Suppose secession should not be peaceful, and that 
war, or measures of quasi war, should be adopted, would co-operation 
and union of the South be more likely to occur? 

We cannot shut our eyes to the fact that the United States govern 
ment is in possession of the forts which command our harbor. There 
they are, and the flag which floats over them contains the stars and the 
stripes which Georgia, and Alabama and Mississippi yet claim as their 
flag. When South Carolina secedes and becomes an independent nation, 
I do not doubt that the valor of her sons will not permit a foreign flag to 
wave over her territory. The forts will be attacked. They will be sub 
dued at a cost, however, of many of her valued sons a cost the more 
dear, as unfortunately it will bring us no relief. The flag which now 
floats over these forts will trail the dust ; but whose flag will that be ? 
Georgia, and Alabama, and Mississippi, and North Carolina, and 
Virginia, and Tennessee, and Kentucky, and Florida, and Louis 
iana and Arkansas each claim one of those stars ; each has a com 
mon pride in that flag; each has her honor floating in its stripes; each 
feels a wound when that banner has been struck. And you are told that 
a blow like this will lead to sympathy and co-operation. Georgia is to 
call a convention while smarting under the shame of wounded pride, 
and follow a lead which in her kindliest moments she has distrusted. 
Alabama and Mississippi are to come alongside of us then, and to take 
part in defending, by force of arms, those schemes which at present even 



SECESSION MOVEMENT OF 1852. 215 

the suspicion of favoring has caused them to repudiate their most trusted 
and popular leaders. 

But, it is said, that no sooner will South Carolina have moved than 
thousands of volunteers will come to her aid from the adjoining States. 
Suppose that to be true, what we are now considering is not the main 
tenance by South Carolina of her separate nationality, but the like 
lihood of the union of the South. What we need is the concert of the 
State governments in forming a new confederacy. The fact that some 
thousand volunteers would come to our aid, no more advances this end 
than did the volunteers under Lopez prove that the States from which 
they came would go and join with Cuba. The State of Georgia has in 
convention solemnly determined to adhere to the Union. Suppose the 
State of South Carolina shall in convention, with equal solemnity., de 
termine to leave the Union. According to our doctrine, every citizen of 
South Carolina would be bound by this decision, and would be guilty of 
treason in opposing it by any overt act. Does not the same conse 
quence follow in Georgia ? Every Georgian in arms against that Union 
to which his State has determined to adhere would by the same reason 
be a traitor to his own State, and consequently every man who would 
march to the aid of South Carolina must be content to abide all the con 
sequences of treason to his own State. And this is the position in which 
we are to place our friends and supporters in the other States. Is it not 
obvious that such a course must lose them all? While we are with 
them in .the Union we can meet and counsel and act together as friends. 
When we leave the Union we are foreigners to them; and counsel or 
co-operation with us against the voice of their own State is treason, and 
could not be entertained by honorable men. 

I think, then, it is clear, beyond a doubt, that the secession of South 
Carolina will not effect the union and co-operation of the South. 

This brings us to the only remaining inquiry. "Will secession by 
South Carolina alone remedy the evils of which we complain? Will it 
give us redress for the past or security for the future ? 

1. W T ill it restore our rights in California ? 

Secession abandons the whole property of the Union to the States 
which are left in possession. It is physically impossible for South Caro 
lina alone to recover any part. A union of the whole South, either in or 
out of the Union, could compel a reparation of California, and the estab 
lishment of the Missouri Line. The friends of Southern rights in other 
States are still insisting upon this line; it was laid down as the demand 
of the South by the Nashville convention, and we intend to insist upon 
it. United action by the South can influence California herself upon 
this question ; and for South Carolina to retire from the Union alone is 
not only to withdraw our support from our friends, and thus to weaken 
the common cause at it s very crisis, but to abandon the whole prize to 
our enemies. 



216 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

2. Will secession relieve us from the injuries, present and future, 
growing out of the adoption of the Wilmot proviso ? 

I have shown in my speech at Pendleton and Greenville that the 
Federal government have practically adopted the AVilmot proviso; that 
it is a mere evasion to put the exclusion of slavery from California 
upon the people of that State. In my opinion, the government at Wash 
ington is responsible for it, and I consider it a practical victory obtained 
by the North, which gives them the mastery over the civilization of the 
South. They have now the control of the whole government. They 
have so adjusted the area upon which our institutions are to expand 
that their political power must increase and ours remain nearly sta 
tionary. In such a condition of things the final struggle cannot long 
be postponed. Truces are nearly at an end ; the Missouri treaty has 
been set aside ; the fugitive slave law is the only olive branch remain 
ing, and fanaticism will soon wither it with its breath. The great con 
test must come on which wise statesmen have long foreseen, and the 
institutions of the South must come in conflict with" the fanaticism 
and self-interest of the North. At such a time we are invited to divide 
to separate ourselves from the Southern phalanx to introduce dis 
sension and discord in the slave-holding camp, and to withdraw from 
the main body what we believe will prove its Tenth Legion in time of 
trial. 

In what possible \vay will secession remedy the existing state of 
things? At present we are excluded from California. But we have 
Texas and the Indian Territory open to us. By a union of the Southern 
States we have at present the prospect of extending our institutions in 
and around the Gulf of Mexico, still farther to the South, and possibly 
of making that gulf to us what the great lakes are to the North. Cuba 
lies open before us. Yucatan has once actually called us to their aid. 
But secession extinguishes all these prospects, and brings the Wilmot 
proviso close up to the banks of the Savannah river. Our slaves, which 
now can go to any part of the South, will then be shut up in South Caro 
lina, and cannot even cross the Savannah river or the North Carolina 
line. For by secession we become foreign to the other States of the 
Union, and by their laws it is piracy to introduce slaves from abroad. 

And is it supposed that by leaving the Union w r e escape the dangers 
which the government of the United States may offer to slavery? Im 
agine for a moment slavery to be abolished in Georgia and North Caro 
lina, and what would be its condition in South Carolina? Must it not 
fall there too? The truth is, that the institution in the United States is 
a unit, arid every blow dealt upon it in one part must be felt in every 
other. And it is mainly this which makes our abandonment of the rest 
of the South so unwise. We have more thoroughly considered this sub 
ject for it must be confessed that the horror of disunion has in other 



SECESSION MOVEMENT OF 1852. 217 

States prevented them from examining it in all its bearings. We then, 
instead of instructing, encouraging, supporting, are to abandon our col 
leagues in the moment of danger, and to leave them weakened and dis 
pirited by our loss to the machinations of a subtle and uncompromising 
foe. 

Failing, then, in all these arguments, and driven to the conclusion 
that their scheme promises neither redress for the past, nor security for 
the future, as a desperate resort the Secessionists are forced to become 
prophets, and in this character they assure us that a separate national 
existence would prove so fortunate to South Carolina that the spectacle 
of her prosperity would of itself invite and induce the other States to 
leave the Union and join her. 

It is difficult to foresee the consequences which are to result from any 
radical change of government. England did not anticipate the rule of 
Cromwell, nor the return of Charles II. ; nor did France anticipate the 
despotism of Napoleon, or the iron yoke of the Holy Alliance, at the 
commencement of their revolutions. Nor can we, accustomed as we 
are to our free institutions, realize \vhat will be the state of things in a 
small State like ours, under rulers who must have at their command a 
standing army, and, perhaps, a navy. It would be no bold prediction, 
however, to affirm that our liberties would not be increased under the 
sway of those passions which have lately been exhibited in our State. 
Where the counsel of a veteran statesman, who had given his whole soul 
and energies to the common cause, like Langdon Cheves, is listened to 
only as an act of courtesy in their own leaders, it is not likely that hum 
bler expostulation would be even tolerated ; and it has already been 
surmised that to dispute by argument even the measures of those who 
for the time constitute the State, is a political crime. Men who, at the 
beginning of a revolution, can associate their peaceful fellow-citizens 
with the horrors of Moscow, are not likely to become more temperate by 
the increased excitement of its progress. 

But passing this by, and assuming that a second Washington will be 
raised up for us to restrain all extravagancies, let us enter upon the ex 
amination of this separate nationality of South Carolina. 

The declarations of the officers of the government, together with the 
activity now manifested at the forts, assure us that secession will not be 
a peaceful remedy. They intend to hold these forts, if they can, and 
they intend to consider us as in the Union, notwithstanding our seces 
sion. The experience of the past shows that Congress will confirm these 
views, and will confer on the government all the power necessary to 
carry them out. 

A disturbance of the trade of Charleston, and a removal of its active 
capital, will be the first visible result. The city of Savannah will com 
plete, in a few months, its connection by railroad with Augusta, and it 



218 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

is already in full communication with the interior by Macon. The bulk 
of our business at Charleston is with Greorgia, Alabama, and Tennessee. 
It is a fact no less lamentable than true, that South Carolina contributes 
a small proportion comparatively to the import trade of Charleston. 
The merchant, therefore, will meet his customers and supply their 
wants with just as much facility at Savannah as at Charleston . The 
distance to the interior is the same, the facilities equal ; and the advan 
tage to Charleston now is, that the capital dwells here. A blockade, 
however, of Charleston, if it be merely on paper, with the port of Savan 
nah wide open, would at once transfer the whole of this trade. Com 
merce is always timid, and at Savannah no difficulty would exist; at 
Charleston the ingenuity of our adversaries would create many; and 
the first act which Congress would pass would fill the Savannah river 
with our trade. 

What, then, would be the condition of our railroads and other public 
enterprises? In the outset, the transportation of all the trade trans 
ferred to Savannah would be lost ; and whatsoever should go by railroad 
to Augusta must stop at the frontier and be entered at some custom 
house on the other side, as from a foreign port ; and passengers and 
goods must become subject to all the vexation incident to such visita 
tion. 

2. The next effect visible would be upon all the trades and business 
which depend upon commerce. The occupations of many must abso 
lutely cease within the city ; and the business of all must be greatly 
diminished. And in regard to the country the extent of injury done 
must depend upon those over whom we have no control. If Congress 
should choose to take away from Charleston the privileges of a port of 
entry, or even without doing this should make other ports more advan 
tageous, the rice and cotton of the planter would have to bear these 
burdens or find their way to Savannah or Wilmington. The distur 
bance which would thus be produced between banks and factors, be 
tween debtors and creditors, would be of a character which I cannot 
pretend to foresee. A general result, however, of injury and ruin must 
follow. 

3. An immense immigration would take place of all those who 
would prefer to remove their slaves into the extensive territory of the 
other States, before the final consummation of the secession scheme 
should prevent them; and afterwards a corresponding depreciation of 
slave property from the inability to remove them to the other States, 
which secession would produce. The foreign demand even now is con 
sidered by the brokers as increasing the price to nearly one hundred 
dollars a head. The destruction of that demand is a proportionate 
destruction of value to the whole State. For after secession is consum 
mated no negro can be removed from South Carolina to the other States 
of the Union. 



SECESSION MOVEMENT OF 1852. 219 

All these difficulties, great as they are, and many more might be 
cheerfully encountered, were they compensated by the promotion of 
the public welfare. But when it shall appear that the state of things 
from which they arise must involve the country in still deeper distress, 
they become wholly intolerable. 

4. For the next evil which we will bring to view, as incident to seces 
sion, is one of the greatest and most fatal. We shall have left the Union 
because of slavery. We shall, therefore, stand out before the world as 
the great exponent of that institution. At present, as we too well see, 
the public opinion of the world is hostile to it; and nations are almost 
banded together for its destruction. By secession we isolate ourselves 
from those having the same interests; we divide and weaken the South 
and we stand out alone before that hostile opinion, exposed by our posi 
tion, and defenceless from our size. Suppose the philanthropists of 
Europe should undertake to school us by that same schoolmaster who 
taught the Chinese that opium-eating was no bad thing, provided the 
opium came from British Colonies or who taught Kossuth and his 
companions to learn the principles of government from a Prussian horn 
book what would be our condition? The great object cf all govern 
ment is protection; and where the government itself is too feeble to 
protect from wrong, it falls into contempt; and to us who have hitherto 
enjoyed the proud privileges of American citizens, no government could 
command our own respect which could not command the respect of other 
nations. 

5. And if to secure our extensive coast from invasion, or our com 
merce from insult, or our slaves from capture, we undertook to keep up 
an army and navy, this would involve us in still more serious difficul 
ties. I am unable to say what amount of expenditure would be re 
quired for us under such circumstances. But, judging by other coun 
tries, four millions annually would probably be required. Where could 
even half that amount be procured ? At present our taxes are $300,000. 
If the remainder is to be made up by direct taxes, we can at once see 
where that would lead. It could not be made up by commerce while 
the Federal government was disputing our right to secede. As this 
state of things would certainly last for several years, whence during 
that time would the means be derived for carrying on the government 
of South Carolina? According to the plans of the Secessionists we 
should have hosts of volunteers from other States to assist them. As 
guests these must be supported, and that too with no stint. According 
to the army estimate it takes an average of $400 per man to support the 
establishment, and at this rate 5,000 of these guests would cost us the 
moderate sum of two millions a year, without any allowance of the 
proper douceurs and rewards which such defenders might reasonably 
expect, or might feel entitled to help themselves to; and should we 
succeed in mastering the power of the United States and establishing 



220 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGEE. 

our independence, whence would be derived the revenues necessary to 
maintain the independent nation of South Carolina? The Secessionists 
answer, by duties on imports. Then, of course, they do not propose that 
South Carolina shall be the flourishing emporium of free trade, which 
others of the Secessionists picture to the people. 

If duties are levied on goods imported into South Carolina, only such 
goods will be imported as will be consumed in South Carolina; for if 
goods thus imported should attempt to cross the line into the other 
States the laws of the United States would stop them and exact the duty 
which is required there. Hence goods imported into Georgia or North 
Carolina through South Carolina would pay a duty twice, when, if im 
ported by Savannah or Wilmington, they would pay but once. It fol 
lows, then, that the whole expenses of our separate nationality must 
come out of the goods consumed by ourselves, and consequently would 
bear upon the people exactly as if they were raised by direct taxes. 
The only difference is the disguise. 

But this is not all. A very large portion of the goods consumed by 
the people of this State pay no duties at all. The tariff operates to raise 
prices only where there is competition between domestic and foreign 
supply. But where domestic competition entirely excludes the foreign 
article and reduces the price below that at which the foreign article 
could be imported, clear of duty, it is manifest that the duty is a dead 
letter. Now a very large portion of the consumption of the South is of 
this character. Shoes, hats, butter, hay, coarse cottons, horses, mules, 
and thousands of other articles consume millions of dollars of the annual 
income of the South, and are imported at present into South Carolina 
without any duty. Do the Secessionists propose to tax these articles ? 
And if not, a very small remnant is left for the operation of their system 
of duties; so small that it would be hazarding little to say that not a 
tenth part of the government expenses could be raised by any duty 
which has been proposed. And if they propose to tax our hats and 
shoes, and the other thousand articles of daily consumption, which are 
now free, the beautiful prosperity of their fancied state of secession will 
have vanished; and they will find, besides all this, our whole frontier 
converted into smuggling ground to bring into our taxed domains the 
free goods of the Union which we should have left behind. 

But a far more serious difficulty from the army and navy would be 
the danger already alluded to, which would be offered to the public lib 
erty. In a small State like ours the temptation to use military power 
would be very great, and it is hardly to be expected that the great offi 
cers would all be Washingtons. History has proved that Syllas an$ 
Marii and Catilines can always be found. A small State must have a 
strong government to be efficient, and in so limited a territory the presi 
dent or lieutenant-general could easily mark that political decimation 
would become part of the regular system of government. 



SECESSION MOVEMENT OF 1852. 221 

6. Finally, let me bring to your view that all history concurs in prov 
ing that liberty cannot long be preserved in a consolidated republic. 
The great balance wheels in our system is the check of the State and 
Federal governments. All our statesmen and none more earnestly 
and energetically than that great and good man, Mr. Calhoun whom 
South Carolina has so long followed with confidence, have urged upon 
us the dangers of consolidation. The great outcry in South Carolina 
against the Federal government for the last twenty years has been its 
tendency to consolidation. The real cause of its great power for evil, 
on the subject of slavery, is that it has, in a great degree, become a con 
solidated government. And here, in the face of all this, we are advised 
by the Secessionists to set up an actual consolidated government over a 
small area of 30,000 square miles, without check or balance with the 
whole Federal and State powers of the present ggvernment in the same 
hands. If we secede alone we can, of necessity, have but one Legisla 
ture and one Executive. Domestic and foreign policy must be guided 
by the same hands. Patronage and power the sword and the purse 
must all be delivered to the same chief magistrate ; and if, under these 
circumstances, liberty can be preserved in South Carolina, it must be 
that every public man is an Aristides, and every citizen a Phocion. 

"What, then, is the course which South Carolina should pursue, and 
what is the counsel which the Co-operationists offer? 

We ask our people to study the history of the American Revolution, 
and we recommend them to follow its example. Then, as now, a people 
foreign to our interests and feelings, assumed the right to govern us. 
The colonies did not break forth into individual action. But they had 
the constancy and firmness to wait for each other. For more than ten 
years the zealous and spirited champions of liberty checked their ardor, 
until even the most tardy had reached conviction. And let not South 
Carolina forget that so late as the 1st of July, 1776, she was herself not 
ready for the final blow. It is a historical fact that when the Declara 
tion of Independence was brought up for action on 1st July, it was post 
poned at the instance of one of her own deputies, in the Congress of 1776> 
to give him time to persuade some of his colleagues into the measure. 
That time was given, and South Carolina, with all her representation, is 
found in her place in that noble company. So, now, let us have the same 
consideration for our brethren in the South let us cease our tauntings 
respect their feelings, even though they be prejudices, and remember 
that nullification has done thus much, at least, for South Carolina: it 
has enabled her to calculate, with unprejudiced eyes, the value of the 
Union. In all such enterprises as the present, where a great people are 
called upon to re-model existing institutions, there must be time al 
lowed. There must first be concert of opinion ; next concert in council ; 
then follows concert of action. This is the order of nature, and it can 
not be reversed. True wisdom counsels us now to take the proper meas- 



222 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. NEMMINGER. 

ures for a concert of opinion at the South. Then let a common council 
meet, and the result will soon follow in united and efficient action. 
Then will the South, with her honor untarnished and her institutions 
secure, stand erect before the world; and if this Union shall still refuse 
to protect our rights, or acknowledge our equality, then shall w r e have 
the will and the means to declare ourselves their enemies in war, in 
peace their friends; and that declaration will be maintained. 

Iii February of this year, Bishop William Capers, of the 
Methodist Church, having completed his Episcopal tour 
through several of the Southern States, returned to his home 
in Charleston, to find his people in Carolina much exercised 
by the political discussions then going on. As one devoted 
to the best interests of his State, he beheld with alarm the 
progress of a revolutionary spirit, which, in his judgment, 
threatened the destruction of the State, the ruin of her com 
mercial prosperity, and the social peace of a people to whom 
he was allied by the holiest and strongest ties of relation 
ship. Under these circumstances he felt it his duty to issue 
an address to the people of South Carolina. This he did 
through the Charleston papers. 

His address was extensively circulated and republished by 
the journals in South Carolina and throughout the South. 
I reproduce this letter here as a companion for the admira 
ble and statesmanlike address of Mr. Memmmger, and as a 
part of the history of these stirring times. The address is 
taken from the Charleston Mercury of February 7, 1851 

To my Fellow- Citizens of South Carolina: 

I take the liberty of addressing you, through the newspapers, on a 
subject of a different character from what has hitherto employed me, 
and I do so the more readily, as my life guarantees my sincerity, and on 
your part personal good will. It is the first time that I have ever felt it 
my duty to express publicly an opinion on any matter of State policy. 
Once, indeed, during the extreme excitement which prevailed in 
Charleston on the subject of nullifying a law of Congress, I met with the 
clergy of ths city apart, at the instance of some venerable citizens, to 
consider whether there was anything which we might possibly do, in our 
sacred character, to promote peace. But it resulted in nothing. We 
found nothing in our power but our prayers for the people. Ministers of 



SECESSION MOVEMENT OF 1852. 223 

religion have little to do, at any time, with matters of State, more than 
to pray for God s guidance and blessing on the people. Nevertheless, 
ministers are men are citizens and it may be expedient once in a life 
time of three-score years and more for a minister to appear in his char 
acter as a citizen and not as a minister. Suffer me, then, for this one 
time, to assert my citizenship and commune with you freely on the state 
of public affairs. I am a citizen, a son of a citizen, born on the soil of 
South Carolina not long after it had been won in part by the sword of 
my father. 

After an absence of about five months on my sacred duties in Ten 
nessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Georgia, I cannot express 
how painfully it has shocked me to be told, on my return home, that the 
great State measures now on foot look solely to secession from the United 
States by this State alone ; that the convention shortly to be held is in 
order to accomplish this end, and that the only question to be open then 
is one of time whether to secede at once, or await the issue of the South 
ern Congress and then secede. 

To secede at once, or at a future time, alone, must be to secede from 
the other Southern States no less than from the Northern. It must be a 
putting of the other Southern States in fault a sort of branding them 
as deficient in knowledge, or courage, or patriotism, or all these 
together. They are involved in all respects as we are, touching the 
injustice of the late acts of Congress. We may not hold ourselves wiser 
nor better than they are, but as equals only; and they are many, while 
we are comparatively few. . And what, in such circumstances, will be 
the probable judgment of mankind, respecting our action, should we 
secede ? 

If I may place any reliance on what has come under my observation 
during my long journey through five of tho principal Southern States, it 
is not probable that a Southern Congress, representing the Southern 
people, can be had at all ; nor, if it could be had, that it would do much, 
if anything, more than the Georgia convention did. As to secession, I 
have no doubt that three-fourths of the people would oppose it at the 
present time. The reason of this opposition, I have understood to be, 
that they do not consider the acts of Congress to be a violation of the 
Constitution, and, in their opinion, nothing less should justify secession. 
I understand it to be the opinion of our people of South Carolina that 
Congress has violated the Constitution. At most, then, it is a mooted 
point and not a settled fact, we entertaining one view of it, while the 
majority of the wise and virtuous of other States, greatly outnumbering 
us, hold the opposite. Do we owe them nothing ? Is it not even due our 
own self-respect to review the matter ? Surely we should know that we 
are right, beyond dispute, before we should proceed to a final act of the 
most fearful import. 



224 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

And ought we not to consider consequences ? Patriotism demands of 
us not to run madly on to our country s ruin, and secession by our State 
alone must prove ruinous. What, though no hostile army may invade 
our soil, the United States must and will oppose us. Charleston will be 
shut out from the rest of the w r orld ; her commerce perish ; her merchants 
leave her in despair; while from her very suburbs our rice and cotton 
shall be carried to Savannah and Augusta for a market. Even now the 
rivalry of Savannah is not to be contemned, but let our State secede 
from the Union and Charleston must become a desolation. Nor will the 
blight fall on Charleston only, but on all the State ; while our taxes 
increased seven-fold, and the heat of the present agitation cooling off, 
our very leaders, if they should prove too proud to be found knocking at 
the door of the Union for admission, shall join the many thousands of 
our poverty-stricken people in their flight from their ruined homes to 
more favored parts. Can patriotism demand the sacrifice ? Patriotism 
demand the sacrifice of the State! No; never! 

Let us then, fellow-citizens, review our ground. If a convention we 
must have, let it not be a convention of boys and half-made men, but of 
the wise and sober-minded. There is no battle to be fought for glory by 
secession, but a fearful struggle with poverty, high taxes and hard 
times, without hope of improvement, and great and sore humiliation. 
And may God grant us deliverance. 

(Signed) WILLIAM CAPERS. 

Charleston, February 6th, 1851. 



CHAPTER VI. 
of 1852. 




|N pursuance of the act of the Legislature authoris 
ing the same, elections were held in October of the 
year 1851 for delegates to the proposed Congress 
of the Southern States, and also for delegates to the Con 
vention of the people when the same should be called. by the 
Governor. The Legislature of 1851 fixed the time for the as 
sembly of this Convention on the fourth Monday in April, 
1852. In looking over the list of the delegates elected to 
this most important Convention, it is apparent that the peo 
ple had selected their " wise and sober-minded " men. It 
was indeed a notable body, composed of men who, in the 
State s service, had established their characters for wisdom 
and moderation, and % were honored with the confidence and 
respect of their fellow-citizens. This Convention is most 
notable in the history of the State for having very wisely 
done nothing. Shortly after being convened, on motion of 
the Hon. Langdon Cheves, a Committee of Twenty-one was 
raised, to whom was referred the act of the General Assem 
bly entitled " An act to provide for the appointment of Depu 
ties to a Southern Congress, and to call a Convention of the 
people of this State," with instructions to consider and re 
port upon the same. The president of the Convention an 
nounced the following as the Committee of Twenty-one pro 
vided for in the resolution: 

1. Langdon Cheves. 8. J. J. Evans. 15. J. Buchanan. 

2. J. P. Richardson. 9. D. L. Wardlaw. 16. F. W. Pickens. 

3. W. B. Seabrook. 10. Edward Frost. 17. E. Bellinger, Jr. 

4. A. P. Butler. 11. B. F. Dunkin. 18. I. W. Hayne. 

5. D. E. Huger, 12. F. H. Wardlaw. 19. W. W. Harlee. 

6. R. W. Barn well. 13. B. F. Perry. 20. Henry Arthur. 

7. J. N. Whitner. 14. Maxey Gregg. 21. Samuel McAliley. 

IS- [ 225 ] 



226 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

Pending the deliberations of this committee, several reso 
lutions were introduced and debated, and votes taken which 
clearly indicated that the Conservative or Co-operation party 
were largely in the majority. On the fourth day of the ses 
sion the Committee of Twenty-one submitted, through the 
Hon. Langdon Cheves, the following report: 

The Committee of Twenty-one, to whom was referred an act to pro 
vide for the election of Deputies to a Southern Congress, and the call of 
a Convention, with instructions to report thereon, respectfully report 
that they have considered the subject referred to them, and have con 
cluded to recommend to the Convention the adoption of the accompany 
ing resolution and ordinance: 

Resolved by the people of South Carolina in Convention assembled, 
That the frequent violations of the Constitution of the United States 
by the Federal government and its encroachment upon the reserved 
rights of the sovereign States of this Union, especially in relation to 
slavery, amply justify this State, so far as any duty or obligation to her 
confederates is involved, in dissolving at once all political connection 
with her co-States, and that she forbears the exercise of this manifest 
right of self-government from considerations of expediency only. 

An Ordinance to declare the right of this State to secede from the Federal 

Union. 

We, the people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assem 
bled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained, 
That South Carolina, in the exercise of her sovereign will as an inde 
pendent State, acceded to the Federal Union, known as the United 
States of America; and that in the exercise of the same sovereign will 
it is her right, without let, hindrance or molestation from any power 
whatever to secede from the said Federal Union ; and that for the suffi 
ciency of the causes which may impel her to such separation she is re 
sponsible alone, under God, to the tribunal of public opinion among the 
nations of the earth. 

To this report there were two minority reports one by 
the Unionists, submitted by Hon. Benjamin F. Perry, and 
one by the Secessionists, submitted by Hon. Maxey Gregg. 
Mr. Memminger asked leave of the Convention to read a 
statement of his own opinions, and of those agreeing with 
him, and moved that it be printed and laid upon the table. 
Objection was made to printing, but the document was re 
ceived and laid upon the table. 



CONVENTION OF 1852. 227 

This statement was in the form of an. argument to show 
that while secession was a right which a sovereign State 
had, that its exercise was not necessarily one that would not 
be resisted. He quoted from Mr. Calhoun, claiming that 
the only just consequence of the State s accession to the 
Federal Union as a sovereign, was in her right to resume that 
sovereignty, with all the attributes and all the responsibili 
ties of a sovereign ; and that as a sovereign and independent 
State South Carolina had entered into a compact with other 
sovereign States, and that there was a mutual obligation which 
all were bound to observe and to perform in respecting the 
rights of each other. He held that the State was the judge 
of the sufficiency and the justness of the cause which would 
lead her to abrogate the compact of association, but that the 
other States, as sovereign parties to the compact, were not 
of necessity bound or concluded by her judgment, having 
an equal sovereign right to judge for themselves and that 
the justice of the cause alone can make the abrogation of 
the compact right. There being no rule or law of infalli 
bility, the other States might conclude that the cause was 
insufficient ; however South Carolina might determine the 
matter, and if they should so hold, there being no tribunal 
among sovereigns to which resort might be had for judg 
ment, the other States might, and in his opinion would, re 
sort to means to enforce her to an observance of the com 
pact and to hinder her from abrogating it if they could do 
so. For these reasons secession to Mr. Memminger, and to 
those who thought with him, meant war/ and he was unwil 
ling to move until the State was ready in her resources for 
such a contingency. The report of the Committee of Twenty- 
one he approved with this amendment, in lieu of the decla 
ration that the State had the right " without let, hindrance 
or molestation" to secede from the Union. He did not be 
lieve, in fact he was assured, that South Carolina was not 
prepared to meet the consequences of the act, and that the 



228 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGEE. 

object desired to be accomplished by secession could only 
be attained by the united action of all of the Southern 
States in sympathy with the movement. 

This view of the consequences of separate State action is 
substantially the same as that heretofore placed before the 
reader in the address delivered at the " Co-operation" meet 
ing in Charleston. 

The Secessionists in the Convention were much disap 
pointed by the report of the Committee of Twenty-one. Sev 
eral amendments and substitutes were offered, but the con 
servative members of the Convention were largely in the 
majority, and voted these down in the order in which they 
were submitted. As an illustration of the temper that per 
vaded the Secession delegates, I extract from the Journal the 
following: "Mr. John Bellinger moved to amend the ma 
jority report by adding thereto the following ordinance: 
That the Legislature of South Carolina shall have the 
power, by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses in joint ses 
sion, accompanied by a notification to the other States, to 
withdraw the State of South Carolina from the Federal 
Union." 

On motion of Langdon Cheves, this amendment w r as laid 
upon the table by a vote of 96 ayes to 60 noes. Mr. Robert 
Barnwell Ehett moved to amend the report of the committee 
by declaring " that the first clause, second section, of the 
fourth article of the Constitution of the United States, where 
by it is provided that the citizens of each State shall be en 
titled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens of the 
several States, should be rendered null and void within the 
limits of South Carolina so far as regards the citizens of 
Massachusetts and Vermont, and it should be the duty of 
the Legislature by suitable and effective provisions and pen 
alties to debar and exclude the citizens of those States from 
entering, abiding or holding property within the State after, 
the ratification of this ordinance." 



CONVENTION OF 1853. 229 

This amendment was rejected by a vote of 112 ayes to 44 
noes. 

Mr. Adams, as a substitute for the report of the committee, 
offered the following resolution: 

Resolved, That this Convention having been called to secede from 
the Union on account of the past aggressions of the Federal govern 
ment, yielding to the popular vote of October last against that remedy, 
and not agreeing on any other, do now adjourn sine die. 

Laid on the table. 

Finally, the report of the Committee of Twenty-one was 
adopted as the action of the Convention by a vote of one 
hundred and thirty-six to nineteen. 

On motion of the Hon. Langdon Cheves, the Convention 
then adjourned sine die, and was declared dissolved. 

Thus ended the Secession Movement of 1850, memorable 
only as the advance storm-cloud of the revolution that was 
to burst upon the country in another decade. 

At the session of the Legislature for the year 1852, Mr. 
Memminger was appointed one of the electors for President 
and Vice-Presideiit of the United States, and as such he cast 
his vote for Franklin Pierce and AVilliam R. King. It was 
at this session that a bill was introduced by Mr. Edward 
McCrady to charter the Blue Ridge Railroad Company, an 
enterprise designed to open a more direct communication 
between Charleston and the Northwestern States. This en 
terprise received the approval and active co-operation of 
Mr. Memminger, who was at all times ready to advance any 
public movement that would, in his judgment, promote the 
business interests of Charleston and advance the general 
material interests of the State. In after years he watched 
with great concern the progress of this railroad, which he 
justly regarded as a most important commercial highway, 
bringing Charleston nearer by many miles to the great 
trading centres of the Ohio and Mississippi valleys than any 



230 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

railway that had as yet been projected. He advocated 
granting State aid to the road under such restrictions as 
would secure the State against loss, and as would enable the 
management, by prudent administration, to obtain the means 
necessary for the expensive and difficult work of crossing 
the Blue Ridge mountains. Unhappily, Mr. Memminger was 
not permitted to witness the completion of this great enter 
prise. Either from mismanagement, a want of energetic 
action on the part of the directors, or deficient engineering 
skill, or from the disastrous results of the civil war most 
probably all of these operating as causes the road has never 
been completed beyond the mountains. The great tunnel 
beyond Walhalla seems to have exhausted all resource of 
money and energy, and to have proven the grave of this 
great highway, which at one time promised to make Charles 
ton the great seaport of the South Atlantic. There it ends, 
amid the wilds of an unproductive mountain region and in 
a silent recess of the great Appalachian Chain. 

Mr. Memminger declined to stand for re-election to the 
House of Representatives in 1853 and 1854, but was returned 
as a member for the session of 1855, and resumed his place 
as chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means a post 
of honor and of usefulness he had filled with great credit to 
himself and benefit to the State for many years. It was at 
this session that bills were introduced to alter and amend 
the constitution of the State so as to give the election of the 
Governor and Lieutenant-Governor to the -people, and also 
to allow the people to vote directly for President and Vice- 
President of the United States. These officers, by a con 
stitutional provision of the State, thought by some to have 
been undemocratic, were elected by the Legislature, a meas 
ure which caused Mr. Clay once to remark that South Car 
olina was in form a Republic, while the other States were 
Democracies. "While these measures were under consideration 



CONVENTION OF 1852. 231 

in the House, Mr. Memminger presided as chaiman of the 
Committee of the Whole. 

The year 1857 is memorable in the history of the United 
States as one of great financial depression, the result of 
wild speculations, following upon the discovery of gold in 
California and the rapid settlement of the Western territo 
ries. It was during this year that the word " Panic " came 
to be applied to the action of the banks and other financial 
institutions, as well as to those persons who alarmed at cer 
tain unforeseen events suspended specie payments, and 
who in many instances were found to be insolvent when 
called upon to respond to the demands of their depositors 
and creditors. This " panic " became widespread, reaching 
to every section of the country and affecting all branches 
of business. So general was the feeling of mistrust and so 
great the depression of trade that the intervention of the 
Federal and State governments was sought to remedy if 
possible the cause of the evil and to give relief to the coun 
try. In South Carolina, as elsewhere in the United States, 
some of the banks suspended specie payments, notwithstand 
ing the penalties fixed by law for such an act, and in many 
instances business establishments were closed and their 
proprietors forced into bankruptcy. Referring to this un 
happy state of affairs, Governor Alston, in his message to the 
Legislature used the following language : 

Regarding the recent revulsion in finance and the currency, I will 
not attempt to enumerate its causes, but will venture to direct your at 
tention not so much to the banks as to the system of banking. A sys 
tem which sanctions the issue of paper money to so large an amount, 
leading to inflated credits, inflated prices, extravagant habits of living 
and reckless speculation, may be supposed calculated to produce a crisis 
sooner or later. The unhappy sinking of a ship with bullion from Cali 
fornia, or any event sufficiently exciting to create a momentary panic, 
was enough to precipitate it. It has had the effect to paralyze the arm 
of honest industry wherever labor is opposed to capital to depress the 
opening market for produce and to impair the confidence between man 



232 LIFE AND TIMES OF C.^G. MEMMINGER. 

and man. The banks in this State were effected by the common panic, 
and felt the pressure severely some of them yielding to its influence, 
have suspended specie payments. The suspension of specie payments 
by a bank is a failure to redeem its notes on demand a forfeiture of its 
promise to pay in gold or silver, current coin, the full value of every 
bill issued from its counter a promise, on which is based .the privilege 
granted by the State to issue bills and to circulate them as currency. 
However, it may be supposed to afford present relief to the business in 
terests of the country, which, unfortunately are so wound up with the 
banks as to suffer inevitably from the contraction of their credits and 
their stringent demands, it is demoralizing in its tendency. 

The banks of this State with which I am at all familiar, are well ad 
ministered. Several of them have bravely withstood the shock, and are 
prepared to do a legitimate business as usual. All it is believed are 
solvent. If, however, there be some so dependent on the banks and 
brokers of New York as to fail in their pledges to the public, when the 
Northern banks fail, it is their misfortune to have to answer for the sins 
of others as well as for their own mismanagement. The consequences 
to the quiet, uninitiated and the laboring community, are alike distrust 
and loss, leading to want and suffering, too often to moral ruin and 
crime. 

The matter of the suspension of specie payment by the 
banks being under consideration by the House of Represen 
tatives, Mr. Memminger offered the following resolutions : 

1. Resolved, That the issue of notes as currency is a privilege granted 
to the banks upon the implied condition that they will redeem such 
notes with coin, at the pleasure of the holder ; that the failure to per 
form this condition justly forfeits the privilege, and should deprive the 
banks of the profits arising from such issues; that the act in relation to 
suspension of specie payments simply contemplates such privation in 
the form of a penalty of five per cent, per annum upon the circulation of 
each suspended bank, and the State should insist upon payment of the 
same so long as the banks shall continue to refuse payment in specie. 

2. That the paying out by the other banks of the notes of the sus 
pended banks is in effect the issue by them of a depreciated currency 
instead of their own notes, redeemable in coin, and is a plain violation 
of law, for which proper proceedings should be instituted by the Attorney- 
General and Solicitors. 

3. That the supposed convertibility of bank-notes into coin at the 
pleasure of the holder has hitherto been relied upon to secure their use 
as currency, but the suspension now in existence exhibits the failure of 
this security and renders necessary a resort to increased securities. 



CONVENTION OF 1852. . 233 

4. That one of the chief causes of these convulsions is to be found in 
the power to expand and contract the currency, which is exercised at 
pleasure by every bank of issues, and that the first step towards preven 
tion should be to limit or withdraw this power. 

5. That a withdrawal of the power would involve the adoption of an 
entire metallic currency, or a circulation of the bank notes of other 
States; both of which schemes being obviously impracticable or inexpe 
dient, we are brought to the alternative of providing some efficient 
checks and limitations to a proper currency. 

6. That among these checks one of the most salutary is to foe found 
in a reduction of the amount of paper circulation by filling the channels 
of trade with the smaller coins, and inasmuch as paper of the same 
denominations will always displace coin, it becomes necessary to with 
draw from circulation bank-notes of the smaller denominations ; that to 
this end all the banks of this State should be required to withdraw from 
circulation within two years all notes under five dollars, and within 
three years all notes under ten dollars. 

7. That to make this measure more effective it should be proposed to 
the neighboring States of Georgia and North Carolina to place a like 
restriction on the issues of their banks. 

8. That the proper limitations to a paper currency are such as would 
attach to it, as early as possible, the essential features of a currency in 
coin, amongst which the most important are ajctual exchangeable value 
and comparative freedom from fluctuation. 

9. That the first feature, to-wit, an actual exchangeable value, may 
be secured by requiring each bank, in addition to the provision requisite 
to redeem its issues in coin, to deposit as collateral security for their 
redemption an equivalent amount of public stocks ; and the second 
feature may be secured by limiting the total amount of bank-notes 
issued to that sum which experience has settled to be the circulation, 
which, under any circumstances, will remain current in our State ; that 
each bank should be permitted to issue no more than its ratable part of 
this sum in proportion to its capital, except upon the deposit of coin to 
an equal amount set apart for the redemption of such increase. 

10. That to carry into effect the last mentioned measure, the mini 
mum circulation of the State shall be ascertained as nearly as practica 
ble, and each bank shall substitute for its present issues a new circula 
tion to the extent prescribed by the last resolution, to be countersigned 
by a proper officer upon the deposit with him of stocks or bonds of this 
State or the United States, or of the city of Charleston or Columbia, to 
an equal market value with the new circulation by the bank entitled to 
the same, which deposit shall be applicable to the redemption of the 
issues of each bank in addition to the securities already provided by 
law; and that .further issues of bank-notes shall be allowed to any bank, 



234 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

to be contersigned as above, upon the deposit of an equal amount of coin 
or bullion with the same depository, pledged for the redemption of such 
additional issue. 

11. That a free competition for the use of money is the proper means 
for placing at their just value the rates of interest and exchange; that 
to this end the restrictions now imposed upon the rates of discount and 
interest charged by the banks should be removed from all actual specie- 
paying banks, saving that each bank be required to advertise its rates 
and to charge them uniformly upon all dealers; and also that no bank 
shall divide more than seven per cent, per annum among its stock 
holders, reserving besides, if it see fit, a fund not exceeding ten per 
cent, upon its capital to pay losses and to provide for regular divi 
dends. 

These resolutions were subsequently embodied by Mr. 
Memminger in a " Bill to regulate the issue of bank-bills "; 
which became a law of the State at this session of the Leg 
islature. 

The conservative course pursued by the Convention of 
1852 did not in the least check the aggressive spirit of the 
abolitionists of New England and some other of the North 
ern States. On the contrary, if it had any perceptible effect, 
judging from their proceedings, it was but to increase the 
energy with which they assailed the institution of slavery. 
The " Free-Soil " Party had not only been formed as a polit 
ical organization, but year after year it continued to grow 
with surprising strength, absorbing the old " Liberty Party," 
and, in fact, uniting in its energetic organization all other 
political factions having the abolition of slavery as their 
chief end and determined purpose. The " American Anti- 
Slavery Society," at Philadelphia, and the "American Abo 
lition Society," at Boston, were used as powerful auxiliaries. 
Extensive publishing houses, under the auspices of these 
societies, were sending out an immense number of anti- 
slavery documents containing the most sensational, and, in 
the majority of instances, the most exaggerated accounts of 
the cruelty to which the slaves were subjected, and appealing 
to the religious sentiment of the people in the most inflam- 



CONVENTION OF 1852. 235 

matory terms of fanaticism. Under the influence of emis 
saries sent in various guises from these societies insurrec 
tions were encouraged, and a great number of slaves induced 
to leave their owners and homes to risk the hospitality and 
benevolent sympathies of their alleged friends amid the 
snows of New England and Canada. It is estimated that 
up to 1860 more than thirty thousand slaves had in this 
way found an asylum in Canada. If pursued, the master 
was not only maltreated and baffled by the officers of the 
law, but in more than one instance lost his life, while his 
slave became the hero of some romantic novelist. Resolu 
tions condemning the institution of slavery as a relic of bar 
barism, insulting in the extreme to the owners of slaves and 
to the States who recognized the legal or moral right to hold 
persons in slavery, were passed by the legislatures of Ver 
mont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and by others of the 
free States. These resolutions, with an audacity which none 
but a New England fanatic could evince, were sent to the 
governors and legislatures of the slave States, and scattered 
broadcast throughout the country. Petitions, by the scores, 
were sent to Congress from almost every town, village and 
hamlet in the Northern States bewailing the sinfulness of 
slavery, and praying Congress to interpose by legislation 
for its suppression. Governor Adams, in his message to the 
Legislature of 1855, referring to the resolutions sent to him, 
says : 

I herewith transmit resolutions from the States of Rhode Island and 
Connecticut. I received certain resolutions from the State of Massa 
chusetts, which I returned to the Governor of that State. Had Massa 
chusetts confined herself to resolutions expressive of her feelings and 
purposes in relation to slavery, impertinent as I may have regarded 
them, I would have received them with indifference and transmitted 
them without comment; but I consider the acts of her late Legislature 
as an insult and an outrage upon every member of the confederacy, who 
has a right to demand the enforcement of the fugitive slave act. A 
State whose Legislature deliberately, unblushingly, impiously violates 



236 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

her constitutional obligations, and whose people resist the execution of 
law, even to the shedding of blood, is not entitled to comity from us, and 
I feel that I would have betrayed the dignity of my trust had I hesitated 
to affix on such conduct the seal of official condemnation. The inter 
change of civilities with a people who feel it to be no dishonor to pre 
vent the recovery of stolen property, will hardly reclaim the faithless, 
and is incompatible with the respect which honesty owes to itself. 

The agitation in relation to slavery continues to increase and is 
rapidly tending to its bloody termination. Measures which it was hoped 
by some would give quiet to the country, and dignity to its delibera 
tions, have served but to redouble the efforts and augment the power of 
abolition. Civil war is a direful calamity, but its scourges are to be 
endured in preference to degradation and ruin. The people of South 
Carolina are alive to the issue and are mindful of their obligations. 
They are calm because they are prepared and self-reliant. They have 
not forgotten their history and they will not fail to vindicate its teach 
ings. The right " to provide new guards for their future security " has 
been sealed by the blood of their ancestors and it will never be surren 
dered. Come what may, " they will do their duty and leave the conse 
quences to God." 

Again, in his message to the Legislature of 1856, he says: 

I have received " resolutions of the Legislature of New Hampshire in 
relation to the late acts of violence and bloodshed perpetrated by the 
slave power in the Territory of Kansas and at the National Capital." In 
the exercise of a discretion which I think rightfully appertains to the 
Executive department, I decline to lay these resolutions before your 
honorable bodies. I care not what may be the theory of State inter 
communication, I will not submit to be made the medium of transmit 
ting from any quarter an insult to my own State. The Constitution 
imposes no such duty on the Executive. The usage of the better days 
of the republic commands my respect, but it cannot reconcile me to acts 
of courtesy to those who would gloat in seeing the torch applied to our 
dwellings and the knife to our throats. 

Later on, in the year 1859, referring to the resolutions 
sent to him, Governor Alston uses the following language: 

Herewith I transmit resolutions from the Legislatures of certain 
States of the Confederacy. Those from New York and New Jersey relate 
to the Lighthouse Board and to certain provisions for the relief of per 
sons and property shipwrecked on the coast; those from Texas, ex 
pressing sentiments of common interest to our citizens, will command 
your attention ; those from New England denounce, as usual, OUT sys- 



CONVENTION OF 1852. 237 

tern of domestic slavery, together with the late decision of the Supreme 
Court. This species of agitation, sectional and disorganizing, proceeds 
from persons who seem to be incapable of entertaining just sentiments 
towards their neighbors, the people of the Southern States. True lib 
erty consists in the will and the power to perform our duty to God and 
to our neighbor. His service is only perfect freedom. The members of 
a Legislature who can thus resolve to desecrate the name of free 
dom and pervert its meaning, by harboring such feelings towards 
their neighbors who sanction and cherish African slavery as a domestic 
institution, inherited from their fathers, expose themselves to the 
imputation of being faithless to the Constitution from the preamble of 
which they quote. The resolutions do not merit a response on your 
part. " One of the expedients of party to acquire influence in their par 
ticular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other dis 
tricts." 

In the meantime the celebrated case of Dred Scott versus 
Sanford was before the Supreme Court of the United States 
OD appeal from the Circuit Court of Missouri. Dred Scott, 
who was held as a slave in Missouri, brought suit to recover 
his freedom, claiming this freedom on the ground that he 
had been brought into territory made free by the act of 
Congress, commonly known as the " Missouri Compromise." 
No case that had been brought before the Supreme Court 
created more comment at the time, or produced more excite 
ment, when the decision of the court was announced. Chief- 
Justice Taney, in an elaborate opinion, reviewed the whole 
question raised by this case. He held " that for more than 
a century previous to the adoption of the Declaration of 
Independence negroes, whether slaves or free, had been re 
garded as being of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to 
associate with the white race either in social or political re 
lations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which 
the white man was bound to respect." The court also, in 
this case, considered the question as to whether Congress 
had the right to exclude slavery from the territories of the 
Union, and denied the power. This decision exasperated 
the abolitionists and excited them to greater extremes than 



238 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

ever before in their fanatical zeal. The fugitive slave law 
was made practically a nullity. No court at the North would 
enforce it, and no man s life was safe from mob violence 
who would attempt by force to recover his fugitive slave. 

Thus, as the years passed by, the estrangement between 
the sections, North and South, grew more and more decided. 
The discussions in the Senate on the Kansas-Topeka Con 
stitution served only to increase the bitterness of feeling 
between the sections, while the partisan collisions in the 
Territories greatly inflamed the passions of the people at the 
North and in the South. Following the desperate attempt 
of John Brown, a zealous abolitionist, to incite the negroes 
to insurrection at Harper s Ferry, in Virginia, came the con 
ventions of the several political parties to nominate candi 
dates for the Presidency of the United States. Thus had 
the aggressive spirit of the abolitionists aroused the spirit 
of the Southern people, and thus had they been stimulated 
to resist the encroachments made upon their rights of prop 
erty by an open and declared foe when the season arrived 
for the assembling of their legislatures. 

Referring to the Federal relations of the State of South 
Carolina, Governor Gist, in his message to the Legislature 
of 1859, thus presents the state of affairs : 

Admonished by the action of the Legislature in relation to certain 
resolutions which were returned without comment to the State from 
whence they came by one of my predecessors, I herewith transmit cer 
tain resolutions from the State of Vermont, affirming the right of Con 
gress to exclude slavery from the territories of the United States, and 
expressing the opinion that it is the duty of Congress to exercise this 
right; and that Vermont will continue to resist the admission of new 
slave states into this Union, and will seek the abolition of slavery at 
the National Capital. Also asserting that the decision of the Supreme 
Court in the Dred Scott case, has no warrant in the Constitution, and is 
not binding upon Vermont or the people of the United States. These 
resolutions not only embody the opinions of Vermont, but of all the 
non-slave-holding States ; and the signs of the times clearly indicate an 
approaching crisis in the destinies of the South. The war so relent- 



CONVENTION OF 1852: 239 

lessly urged against our institutions has assumed a form so menacing 
that none but those who are willfully blind can fail to see the dangers 
that surround us, and the perils to which we are exposed. A small 
party at the North, numbering at first only a few fanatics, has assumed 
gigantic proportions; and with very few exceptions, the entire Northern 
people are arrayed against us, and pledged to our destruction. Not 
satisfied with the slow but certain measures in progress to reduce us to 
worse than colonial vassalage, by refusing to admit slave States into the 
Union by the establishment of underground railroads to assist our 
negroes to escape from our service by prohibiting us from carrying our 
slaves into the common territories, and by every other conceivable 
means, they have actually crossed the Rubicon attempting to instigate 
our slaves to insurrection, and furnished them with arms to murder us 
on Southern soil. Harper s Ferry is the truthful illustration of the first 
act of the drama to be performed on a Southern theatre, and if the South 
does not now unite for her defense, we will deserve the execration of 
posterity, and the blood that has been shed will bear a disgraceful and 
humiliating record against us. The intention of the North is as clearly 
evinced by the action of the few, and more especially when that action 
is ratified and approved by the press and people of the non-slaveholding 
States, as if they had sent forth their multitudes in the treasonable and 
incendiary attack upon the South. Can we then any longer talk about 
moderation and conservatism, and statesmanship, and still hug the de 
lusive phantom to our breast that all is well, and that the Democratic 
party, upon whom we have too confidently relied, will work out our sak 
vation by platforms and resolutions ? As well might we rely upon 3 
paste- board barque to protect us from ocean storms. South Carolina 
should be careful not to commit herself, directly or indirectly, to any 
presidential aspirant and be forced by party trammels to support a 
party nominee. An open and undisguised enemy is infinitely prefera 
ble to a pretended friend, and we should scorn the alternative of a 
choice of evils, as being but the poor privilege of a slave to choose a 
master. We have sunk very low, indeed, if our liberties are to depend 
upon the fortunate selection of a candidate for the presidency, who on 
account of his popularity or his mysterious manner of expressing his 
opinions, makes himself acceptable to both sections, or is \vhat is gen 
erally termed available. 

It is unbecoming a free people to stake their liberties upon the suc 
cessful jugglery of party politicians and interested office-seekers, rather 
than a bold and determined resolution to maintain them at every haz 
ard. In the eloquent language of our own McDuflie, to whom were uni 
versally accorded honesty, patriotism and disinterestedness, "Let us 
cherish and preserve the reputation we have nobly acquired, as the Ro 
mans did their vestal fire. Let no statesman of South Carolina tarnish 



240 LIFE AND . TIMES, OF, C.^ G.MEMMINGER. 

her glorious escutcheon by enlisting as a partisan under the banner of 
any of those political chiefs who are grasping at the Presidential scepter. 
The political principles and peculiar institutions of the State may be 
sold and sacrificed, but most assuredly they can never be preserved by 
such degrading partisanship. South Carolina, and all the States having 
similar institutions, must not put their trust in presidents; but look to 
their own power and principles for the security of their rights and insti 
tutions. They are in a permanent minority on all questions affecting 
those rights and institutions, and whoever may exercise the powers of 
the Chief Magistracy, they will be exercised in obedience to the will of 
the adverse majority." What, then, it may be asked, should South Caro 
lina do in view of the crisis now approaching (and, in my opinion, fear 
fully near), to save her institutions from destruction and afford safety 
and security to her people? Would to God I were able to give a satis 
factory answer to this momentous question, and thus be the humble in 
strument to avert the impending danger; but I must confess my utter 
inability to point out the path of honor and safety, in the midst of the 
difficulties that surround us. With an united South our course would 
be clear, and our future glorious; we could enforce equality in the 
Union, o*r maintain our independence out of it. If, as I solemnly be 
lieve, we can no longer live in peace and harmony in the Union not 
withstanding the associations of the past and the remembrance of our 
common triumphs (being treated as enemies and aliens, rather than 
brethren of the same family, and heirs of the same inheritance, by the 
North), w r e can form a confederacy with ability to protect itself against 
any enemy, and command the respect and admiration of the world. 
This proud position is only to be obtained by a strict adherence to law 
and duty; and while South Carolina insists on the other States carrying 
out their constitutional obligations, she should be careful to do her 
whole duty, and carry out in good faith all her obligations to her sister 
States and the Federal government, by discouraging all attempts to 
evade the laws, under any pretence whatever. While in the Union we 
should comply with all the laws of Congress until they are pronounced 
unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, or our people are released from 
their binding obligations by the constituted authorities of the State; 
and it would be an arrogant assumption on the part of individuals to 
set up their opinions of the constitutionality of a law as their rule of 
action. We should not imitate the example of the North in setting up 
a "higher law," but retain the proud position we have always occupied, 
and it will give self-satisfaction, an approving conscience, and moral 
power to achieve victory. In preparing for any emergency that may 
arise, I would respectfully recommend you, at an early period, to take 
such measures as, in your wisdom, you may deem proper and expedient 
to obtain the co-operation of the Southern States in concerted action 



CONVENTION OF 1852. 241 

in defense of our institutions, whenever they may be put in jeopardy by 
all the departments of the government passing into the hands of our 
enemies. The election of a black Eepublican President will settle the 
question of our safety in the Union ; and although the forms of the Con 
stitution may be complied with, its vital principle will be extinguishedj 
and the South must consent to occupy an inferior and degrading posi 
tion, or seek new safeguards for her future security. Let South Caro 
lina exhaust every means to get the co-operation of the Southern States 
in this vital and important movement, yielding everything but princi 
ple for that purpose, prepared to follow any lead in resistance, but she 
should never forget that she is a sovereign and an equal that by her 
sovereign act she created the relationship of the State that now exists 
in the Federal Union, and that she has a clear and unquestionable right 
to resume her position as a sovereign in the family of nations. 

Relying confidently upon a just God, who has hitherto dealt so kindly 
with us as a State, to sustain us in the trying emergency we may be 
called to pass through, let us in all sincerity invoke a continuance of 
His favor and support. 

Several resolutions and reports from special committees 
were presented with regard to the Federal relations of the 
State, and were for some time under discussion. As a sub 
stitute for them all, and as embodying in substance their 
general sense, Mr. Memminger offered the following resolu 
tions : 

Whereas, the State of South Carolina, by her ordinance of 1852, 
affirmed her right to secede from the confederacy whenever the occa 
sion should arise justifying her, in her own judgment, in taking that 
step ; and in the resolution adopted by her Convention, that she forebore 
the immediate exercise of that right from considerations of expediency; 
and, whereas, more than seven years have elapsed since that Conven 
tion adjourned, and in the intervening time the assaults upon the insti 
tution of slavery, and upon the rights and equality of the Southern 
States have unceasingly continued with increasing violence, and in new 
and more alarming forms : be it, therefore, 

Resolved, unanimously, That South Carolina, still deferring to her 
Southern sisters, nevertheless respectfully announces to them that it is 
the deliberate judgment of this General Assembly that the slave-hold 
ing States should immediately meet together to concert measures for 
united action. 

Resolved, unanimously, That the foregoing preamble and resolutions 
be communicated by the Governor to all the slave-holding States, with 
16 



242 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

the earnest request of this State that they will appoint deputies 
and adopt such measures as, in their judgment, will promote the said 
meeting. 

Eesolved, unanimously, That a special committee be appointed by 
his Excellency, the Governor, to communicate the foregoing preamble 
and resolutions to the State of Virginia, and to express to the authori 
ties of that State the cordial sympathy of the people of South Carolina 
with the people of Virginia, and their earnest desire to unite with them 
in measures of defense. 

Eesolved, unanimously, That the State of South Carolina owes it to 
her own citizens to protect them and their property from every enemy, 
and that, for the purpose of military preparation for any emergency; 
the sum of one hundred thousand dollars be appropriated for military 
contingencies. 

The resolutions were immediately considered and unani* 
mously adopted; the vote being 119 to 0. 

In compliance with the provisions of these resolutions, 
Governor Gist appointed Mr. Memminger as Commissioner 
from South Carolina to the State of Virginia. 

The selection of Mr. Memminger was universally approved 
in South Carolina. His conservative views, dignified and 
conciliatory spirit, thorough knowledge of the questions to 
be considered, and the universal respect for his spotless 
personal character, gave him an approach to the people of 
Virginia, through their General Assembly, that but few men 
from the extreme South could have secured. As an evi 
dence of the appreciation of Mr. Memminger s worth as a 
statesman and a citizen, I present the following extract 
from the Richmond Examiner of January 3, 1860, with this 
remark, that an editorial endorsement of a leading metro 
politan journal in those days was nearer the highest stand 
ard of social and intellectual values (erected in Southern 
journalism) than it has been known to be since, unhappily 
for the ethics of the press: 

Pursuant to these resolutions, Governor Gist, of South Carolina, has 
appointed Col. C. G. Memminger a Commissioner on behalf of that State 
to express to the authorities of this State the cordial sympathy of the 



CONVENTION OF 1852. 243 

people of South Carolina with the people of Virginia and their earnest 
desire to unite with them in measures of defense. The resolutions in 
question have evidently and prominently for their object the speedy and 
united action of the slave-holding States for concert of action and mutual 
protection against Northern aggression. Such resolutions, emanating 
from the Legislature of a chivalrous, noble and gallant State like that 
of South Carolina, will doubtless receive the most respectful and earnest 
attention from the Governor and Legislature of Virginia. 

The Commissioner selected by the Governor of South Carolina to 
carry out the important duties assigned to him by the above resolu 
tions will reach Richmond, in a few days, and merits, as he will doubt 
less receive, the most distinguished attention of the Legislature. He 
should, as a matter of course, be received as the guest of the State, and 
an invitation extended to him to address the Legislature upon the impor 
tant object of his mission. 

Colonel Memminger has for many years been esteemed the most 
accomplished and able member of the South Carolina Bar, and, although 
avoiding political office, has for nearly thirty years played a conspicuous 
part in the politics of South Carolina. He has, since the days of nullifi 
cation, been regarded as the leader of the Conservative party of his 
State, and his career as a politician is briefly and correctly stated by the 
Charleston Courier, \\liQn it says that Colonel Memminger "has been a 
champion foremost among those who, advocating resistance and 
effectual remedies for the evils too long endured by the South, have yet 
Steadily opposed and rejected secession." He is, we learn, the author of 
the above resolutions, which show that the most conservative of South 
Carolina s statesmen are now rife for resistance to the violence and law 
less fanaticism of the free States. Colonel Memminger is the fourth 
instance of the appointment of an ambassador by a Southern State to 
consult with the authorities of a sister State. Kentucky, many years 
ago, appointed Henry Clay and Chancellor George M. Bibb Commission 
ers to Virginia, pending certain disputes between Kentucky and Vir 
ginia, and Virginia sent Benj. AVatkins Leigh to South Carolina as a 
Commissioner pending the great excitement during the days of nullifi 
cation. 

No one could have more highly appreciated the honor 
conferred upon him by the Governor of South Carolina, or 
have realized more fully the responsibility of the high trust 
delegated to him, than did Mr. Memminger. His mission 
to Virginia being made publicly known, at once excited the 
deepest interest throughout the entire country. The " grand 
old mother of states and statesmen " was justly regarded, 



244 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

in the chivalric spirit of her citizenship and in the philo 
sophic cast of her statesmen, as the source from whence 
sprang the noblest sentiments of patriotism, and the wisest 
and truest expressions of the political relations existing be 
tween the Federal and State governments. 

" What course will Virginia pursue?" was the question 
every one asked, and the answer was awaited from Maine to 
Texas with the greatest interest. The representatives and 
senators from South Carolina in the Federal Congress, and 
many persons prominent in the public service, and yet 
others of equal virtues, who were but private citizens, ad 
dressed letters to Mr. Memminger urging him to pursue 
such a course as in their several judgments were believed by 
them to be the most apt in bringing about the results they 
desired. I find quite a number of these letter preserved 
among the private correspondence of Mr. Memminger, but 
as they were never written with the view of being made 
public, I do not consider that even his literary executor 
should invade the confidence that has held them so long in 
the quiet of an honorable resting place. I prefer to leave 
such piracy to the Trentian taste of that class of publicists 
who are at best but the jackalls of our American literature. 

Before leaving his home for Virginia, Mr. Memminger 
addressed the following letter to the Governor of that State: 

CHARLESTON, January 9, 1860. 
His Excellency, John Letcher: 

DEAR SIR, The Governor of the State of South Carolina has appointed 
me Special Commissioner to communicate to the State of Virginia cer 
tain resolutions adopted by the General Assembly of South Carolina in 
consequence of the recent outrage upon the soil of Virginia, and to ex 
press the cordial sympathy of the people of South Carolina with the peo 
ple of Virginia, and their earnest desire to unite with them in measures 
of common defense. 

I take occasion respectfully to inform your Excellency that, in dis 
charge of this duty, I shall immediately proceed to Richmond, where I 
hope to arrive on Thursday evening the 12th instant. 
"With much respect, your obedient servant, 

C. G. MEMMINGER. 



CONVENTION OP 1852. 245 

The Richmond Dispatch, in publishing this letter, says: 

The Southern train, which arrived at half-past six o clock last night, 
brought Colonel Memminger and his daughter, for whom rooms had 
been taken at the Ballard House. Colonel Memminger was met at the 
cars by the joint committee of the General Assembly appointed to re 
ceive him as the guest of the State, and conducted to the hotel. He 
will, we learn, address the Legislature in the hall of the House to-night 
on the subject of his mission. 

Arrived at Richmond and escorted to his elegant domicile 
at the Ballard House, his first official act was to address the 
following letter to Governor Letcher: 

RICHMOND, January 14, 1860. 

His Excellency John Letcher, Governor of the State of Virginia : 

DEAR SIR, I have the honor to communicate to you the accompany 
ing resolutions which were unanimously adopted by the General As 
sembly of South Carolina on the 22d day of December last. 

The State of South Carolina has felt with the deepest concern the 
indignity offered to the State of Virginia, and regards it as a blow 
aimed equally at herself. Her people desire to express fheir cordial 
sympathy with the people of Virginia, and to unite with them in meas 
ures of common defense ; and they have honored me with the charge of 
communicating their sentiments. 

Permit me, therefore, respectfully to request of your Excellency to 
indicate the manner in which it will be most acceptable to the authorities 
of Virginia that I should proceed to discharge the duties entrusted 
to me. 

With highest consideration and respect, I am your obedient ser 
vant, [Signed] C. G. MEMMINGER. 

This official communication was at once brought to the 
attention of the Legislature of Virginia, then in session, by 
the Governor. In answer Mr. Memminger was invited to 
address the General Assembly of Virginia upon the subject 
of his mission. In every way that the thoughtful discretion 
of a cultivated people could suggest he was made the recip 
ient of the most delicate attention, and of that unstinted 
hospitality for which Virginians have been always distin 
guished. 



246 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

The address of Mr. Memminger to the General Assembly 
of Virginia fully met the expectations of those who had 
delegated to him the honorable and responsible duty of 
representing South Carolina, and was equally pleasing to 
the Virginians, among whom the high character and abilities 
of Mr. Memminger was now fully known and appreciated. 

I present this address in full. It is a state paper of great 
interest, worthy to rank with the best efforts of our most 
illustrious statesmen. 

RICHMOND, January 21, I860. 

Sir, We have the honor to enclose to you the accompanying resolu 
tion, unanimously adopted by both houses of the General Assembly. 

Permit us to add our personal solicitation for a compliance, on your 
part, with the wishes of the General Assembly. 

We have the honor to be, with high consideration, your obedient ser 
vants, 

Eo. L. MONTAGUE, President of the Senate. 

0. M. CRUTCIIFIELD, S. H. D. 
Hon. C. G. Memminger. 

Resolved by the General Assembly, That the Hon. C. G. Memminger, 
Commissioner from the State of South Carolina, be requested to furnish 
for publication the address delivered by him to the General Assembly 
on his reception by them, and that ten thousand copies be printed for 
circulation among the people of the State. 

Agreed to by House of Delegates, January 20, 1860. 

WM. P. GORDON, JR., C. II. D. 
Agreed to by Senate, January 21, 1860. 

SHELTON C. DAVIS, C. S. 

RICHMOND, January 27, 1860. 

Gentlemen, In pursuance of the request of the General Assembly, I 
herewith respectf ally communicate to you, as nearly as I can recall the 
same, the address delivered by me before the Assembly on the 19th inst. 
I would ask leave to tender to the Assembly my respectful acknowl 
edgments of the honor done me in making the request, and to your 
selves, gentlemen, my assurance of high consideration. 
With much respect, your obedient servant, 

C. G. MEMMINGER, 

Commissioner of the State of South Carolina. 
lion. R. L. Montague, President of the Senate. 

Hon. 0. M. Crutchfield, Speaker of the House of Delegates of the General 
Assembly of Virginia. 



CONVENTION OF 1852. 247 



ADDRESS. 

Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen of the General Assembly of Virginia .% 

"When the Athenian orator ascended the bema, before the constituted 
authorities of his country, it was his custom to invoke the blessing of 
the gods upon the deliberations of the assembly. If those who wor 
shiped an unknown god so anxiously sought his aid, how much more 
earnestly should we, to whom that God has been revealed as a Son of 
Righteousness, with healing in his wings, invoke his assistance upon so 
momentous an occasion as the present. Most humbly, therefore, do I 
now beseech His presence in this Assembly, that He may condescend to 
aid the speaker to discharge aright the important trust confided to him, 
and to guide the hearers to that result which will advance the best in 
terests of our Southern country. 

Before I enter upon the important matter which we are this day to 
consider, permit me, in the name of the State which I have the honor to 
represent, to return to his Excellency, the Governor, and to all the now 
assembled authorities of Virginia, my profound acknowledgment of the 
courtesy and kindness with which I have been received. The public 
demonstration of respect and consideration which you have been pleased 
to exhibit could only be exceeded by the courteous hospitality with 
which I have been welcomed in private. If my mission should attain 
no higher results, it w r ill at least show to the world that the States of 
this Union have a separate and distinct vitality ; that they realize the 
great fact that they may confer with each other to maintain their mu 
tual rights and interests; and, besides all this, I can confidently affirm 
that such an interchange of kindly feeling as you have exhibited cannot 
fail to bind together the hearts of our people in closer ties of sympathy 
and fellowship. 

The objects of my mission are set forth in the resolutions of which I 
am the bearer to this Commonwealth. I respectfully ask leave to have 
them read : 

" Whereas, the State of South Carolina, by her Ordinance of A. D. 
1852, affirmed her right to secede from the confederacy whenever the 
occasion should arise justifying her, in her own judgment, in taking that 
step; and in the resolution adopted by her convention declared that 
she forebore the immediate exercise of that right from the considera 
tions of expediency only; 

u And, whereas, more than seven years have elapsed since that con 
vention adjourned, and in the intervening time the assaults upon the 
institutions of slavery, and upon the rights and equality of the Southern 
States, have unceasingly continued with increasing violence and wider 
and more alarming forms; be it, therefore, 



248 LIFE AND TINES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

"1. Resolved, unanimously, That the State of South Carolina, still 
deferring to her Southern sisters, nevertheless respectfully announces 
to them that it is the deliberate judgment of this General Assembly that 
the slave-holding States should immediately meet together to concert 
measures for united action. 

" 2. Eesolved, unanimously, That the foregoing preamble and reso 
lution be communicated by the Governor to all the slave-holding States, 
with the earnest request of this State that they will appoint deputies 
and adopt such measures as in their judgment will promote the said 
meeting. 

"3. Resolved, unanimously, That a special commissioner be appointed 
by his Excellency the Governor to communicate the foregoing preamble 
and resolutions to the State of Virginia, and to express to the authori 
ties of that State the cordial sympathy of the people of South Carolina 
with the people of Virginia and their earnest desire to unite with them 
in measures of common defense." 

Three distinct objects are presented by these resolutions. They 
direct me 

1. To express to the authorities of Virginia the cordial sympathy of 
the people of South Carolina with the people of Virginia in the trial 
through which they have lately passed. 

2. To express our earnest desire to unite with you in measures of 
common defense. 

3. To request a conference of the slave-holding States and the 
appointment of deputies or commissioners to the same on the part of 
Virginia. 

The expression of our sympathy is most grateful to our own feelings. 
Whilst in common with the rest of the Union, we feel our obligation for 
the large contribution of mind and effort which Virginia has made to 
the common cause; we of South Carolina are more largely indebted to 
her for manifestations of particular concern in our welfare, which I 
shall presently notice. We had supposed that her large contributions 
to the Union had secured to her the respect and affection of every State 
of the confederacy. Certainly there is no State to whom more kindly 
feelings are due. Her statesmen and soldiers had devoted their lives to 
the service of the country, and their honored remains now hallow her 
soil. There was the tomb of the Father of his Country. There lay the 
ashes of Patrick Henry, and of Jefferson, and of Madison, and of a host 
of others, whose names had given lustre to our country s glory, and the 
fruit of whose labors was the common inheritance of North and South; 
and yet all this could not preserve her from the invasion of her soil, the 
murder of her citizens, and the attempt to involve her in the horrors of 
servile and civil war. That very North, to whom she had surrendered a 
territorial empire who had grown great through her generous confi- 



CONVENTION OF 1852. 249 

dence sent forth the assassins, furnished them with arms and money, 
and would fain rescue them from the infamy and punishment due to 
crimes so atrocious. 

To estimate aright the character of the outrage at Harper s Ferry we 
must realize the intentions of those who planned it. They expected the 
slaves to rise in mass as soon as the banner of abolition should be 
unfurled. Knowing nothing of the kindly feeling which exists through 
out the South between the master and his slaves, they judged of that 
feeling by their own hatred, and expected that the tocsin which they 
sounded would at once arouse to rebellion every slave who heard it- 
Accordingly they prepared such arms as an infuriate and untrained 
peasantry could most readily use. 

They also expected aid from another element of revolution. They 
did not believe in the loyalty to the government of Virginia of that part 
of her population which owned no slaves. They seized upon the armory, 
and they expected help from its operatives, and from the farming popu 
lation ; and to gain time for combining all these elements of mischief, as 
they conceived them to be, they seized upon a pass in the mountains 
well adapted to their purpose. For months had they worked with 
fiendish and unwearied diligence, and it is hazarding little to conjecture 
that the banditti, who had been trained in Kansas, were in readiness to 
obey the summons to new scenes of rapine and murder as soon as a 
lodgment were effected. 

Is it at all surprising that a peaceful village where no sound of war 
had been heard for half a century should be overcome for the moment 
at midnight by so unexpected an inroad? The confusion which ensued 
was a necessity; and it can only be ascribed to the superintendence of a 
kind Providence that so few innocent lives were sacrificed. It is indeed 
wonderful that none of the hostages seized by these banditti should 
have suffered from the attacks which their friends were obliged to 
make, and that at so early a period the inhabitants recovered from their 
amazement and reduced their assailants to the five who were entrenched 
within the brick walls of the engine-house. 

The failure to accomplish their purpose cannot lessen its atrocity ; 
neither can their erroneous calculations as to the loyalty of their citi 
zens of the State, or of the slaves to their masters, lessen the crime of 
these murderers; and they have justly paid the forfeit of their lives. 
But such a forfeit cannot expiate the blood of peaceful citizens, nor re 
store the feeling of tranquil security to the families which they have dis 
turbed. The outraged soil of Virginia stands a witness of the wrong, 
and the unquiet homes which remain agitated along her borders, still 
call for protection ; and as an affectionate mother, the State feels for 
her children, and is providing that protection. The people of South 
Carolina cordially sympathize in all these feelings. They regard this 



250 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

outrage as perpetrated on themselves. The blow that has struck you 
was aimed equally at them, and they would gladly share in all its con 
sequences, and most of all in the effort to prevent its recurrence in the 
future. 

In this desire they are influenced not only by a sense of common 
danger, but by the remembrance of former kindness exhibited towards 
South Carolina by the State of Virginia in a day of trial. 

In the year 1833 when South Carolina had nullified an unconstitu 
tional tariff imposed by the Federal government, and was taking meas 
ures to maintain her position at every hazard, the State of Virginia 
actuated by the kindliest and most honorable feelings, adopted the fol 
lowing resolutions : 

" Resolved by the General Assembly in the name and on behalf of the 
people of Virginia, That the competent authorities of South Carolina be, 
and they are hereby, earnestly and respectfully requested and entreated 
to rescind the or dinance of the late Convention of that State, entitled An 
ordinance to nullify certain acts of the Congress of the United States, 
purporting to be laws laying duties and imposts on the importation of 
foreign commodities; or at least to suspend its operation until the 
close of the first session of the next Congress. 

" Resolved, That the Congress of the United States be, and they are 
hereby, earnestly and respectfully requested and entreated so to modify 
the acts laying duties and imposts on the importation of foreign com 
modities, commonly called the tariff acts, as to effect a gradual but 
speedy reduction of the resulting revenue of the general government to 
the standard of the necessary and proper expenditures for the support 
thereof. 

" Resolved, That this House will, by joint vote with the Senate, pro 
ceed on this day to elect a Commissioner, whose duty it shall be to pro 
ceed immediately to South Carolina and communicate the fpregoing 
preamble and resolutions to the Governor of that State, with a request 
that they be communicated to the Legislature of that State, or any con 
vention of its citizens, or give them such other direction as in his judg 
ment may be best calculated to promote the objects which this Com 
monwealth has in view; and that the said Commissioner be authorized 
to express to the public authorities and people of our sister State, in 
such manner as he may deem most expedient, our sincere good will to 
our sister State, and our anxious solicitude that the kind and respect, 
f ul recommendations we have addressed her, may lead to an accommoda 
tion of all the differences between that State and the general govern 
ment." 

Mr. Leigh repaired to South Carolina, and on presenting his creden 
tials was informed by the Governor that the ordinary authorities of the 
government had no jurisdiction of the subject of his mission, inasmuch 



CONVENTION OF 1852. 251 

as the ordinance of nullification had been passed by a Convention of the 
people. The following extracts from the correspondence will exhibit 
what took place : 

[Extract from letter of Hon. B. W. Leigh, Commissioner of Virginia, to His Excellency 
Robert Y. Hayne, Governor of South Carolina.] 

" CHARLESTON, February 5, 1833. 

" I have now therefore to request your Excellency to communicate 
the resolutions of the General Assembly of Virginia, and this letter 
also to the president of the Convention, confidently hoping that that 
officer w r ill not refuse or hesitate to re-assemble the Convention, in order 
that the resolutions of the General Assembly may be submitted to it, 
and that the Convention may consider whether and how far the earnest 
and respectful request and entreaty of the General Assembly shall and 
ought to be complied with." 

[Extract from a letter of James Hamilton, Jr., to His Excellency Robert Y. Hayne, Gov 
ernor of South Carolina.] 

CHARLESTON, February 6th, 1833. 

" In reply to the reference which you have made to me, as president of 
the Convention of the people of South Carolina, consequent on the ap 
plication on the part of that gentleman for the meeting of that body, I 
beg leave to communicate to him, through your Excellency, that, appre 
ciating very highly the kind disposition and the patriotic solicitude 
which have induced the highly respectable Commonwealth which he rep 
resents to interpose her friendly and mediatorial offices in the unhappy 
controversy subsisting between the Federal government and the State 
of South Carolina, I should do great injustice to those dispositions on 
her part, and, I am quite sure, to the feelings of the people of South 
Carolina, if I did not promptly comply with his wishes in reference to 
the proposed call." 

In compliance with Mr. Leigh s request, the Convention was reassem 
bled. The mediation and request of Virginia was communicated. Her 
interference with the Federal government, the other party to the con 
troversy, had led to the modification of the tariff, and the result with 
South Carolina was a repeal of the ordinance of nullification, and the 
adoption by the Convention of the following resolutions : 

" Resolved, unanimously, That the president of this Convention do 
communicate to the Governor of Virginia, with a copy of this report 
and these resolutions, our distinguished sense of the patriotic and 
friendly motives which actuated her General Assembly in tendering her 
mediation in the late controversy between the general government and 
the State of South Carolina, with the assurance that her friendly coun 
cils will at all times command our respectful consideration. 



252 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

" Resolved, unanimously, That the president of this Convention like 
wise convey to the Governor of Virginia our high appreciation of the 
able and conciliatory manner in which Mr. Leigh has conducted his 
mission, during which he has afforded the most gratifying satisfaction 
to all parties, in sustaining towards us the kind and fraternal relations 
of his own State." 

The other incident in the relations of the two States, to which I would 
ask your attention, occurred in 1851. Four years before both States had 
passed resolutions declaring that they would not submit to the Wilmot 
proviso. In 1849 Virginia had added to her declaration of 1847 that she. 
would also resist the abolition of the slave trade in the District of Col 
umbia. South Carolina concurred entirely in the sentiments of Vir 
ginia, and prepared to defend the position which had been taken, and. 
which she supposed was the common position of the whole South 

The compromise measures adopted by Congress in 1850, so far from 
being satisfactory, in her judgment aggravated the injury. She re 
garded the admission of California, with a Constitution prohibiting 
slavery, as in effect an enactment of the Wilmot proviso; and the slave 
trade in the District of Columbia had been expressly prohibited by one 
of the compromise acts of Congress. With these views South Carolina 
proceeded to arm her people, and made the requisite arrangements for 
calling a Convention to secede from the Union, or to adopt such other 
measures as the safety and welfare of the State might require. 

In December, 1851, the Legislature of Virginia adopted the following 
resolutions : 

" Whereas, the Legislature of the State of South Carolina has passed 
an act to provide for the appointment of delegates to the Southern Con 
gress, to be entrusted with full power and authority to deliberate with 
the view and intention of arresting further aggression, and, if possible, 
of restoring the constitutional rights of the South, and if not to recom 
mend due provision for their future safety and independence, which act 
has been formally communicated to this General Assembly : 

" 1. Be it therefore resolved by the General Assembly of Virginia. 
That whilst this State deeply sympathizes with South Carolina in the 
feelings excited by the unwarrantable interference of certain of the 
non-slave-holding States with our common institutions; and whilst di 
versity of opinion exists among the people of this Commonwealth in 
regard to the wisdom, justice and constitutionality of the measures of 
the late Congress of the United States, taken as a whole, and commonly 
known as the Compromise measures, yet the Legislature of Virginia 
deems it a duty to declare to her sister State of South Carolina that the 
people of this State are unwilling to take any action in consequence of 
the same calculated to destroy the integrity of this Union. 

" 2. Resolved, That regarding the said acts of the Congress of the 
United States, taken together, as an adjustment of the exciting ques- 



CONVENTION OFJ852. 253 

tions to which they relate, and cherishing the hope that if fairly exe 
cuted they will restore to the country that harmony and confidence 
which of late have been so unhappily disturbed, the State of Virginia 
deems it unwise, in the present condition of the country, to send dele 
gates to the proposed Southern Congress. 

" 3. Kesolved, That Virginia earnestly and affectionately appeals to 
her sister State of South Carolina to desist from any meditated seces 
sion upon her part, which cannot but tend to the destruction of the 
Union, and the loss to all of the States of the benefits that spring from it." 

I have introduced this history in no spirit of fault-finding, and with 
no intention to reflect in the least degree upon the action of Virginia. 
She had a perfect right, as a sovereign State, to accept the Compromise 
of 1850; and having accepted it, she was not bound to justify herself 
except at her own pleasure. South Carolina had an equal right to refuse 
the Compromise and to take action to make good such refusal. But the 
kindly feeling which existed between the two States induced Virginia 
to pass the resolutions of 1851. A reciprocal feeling influenced South 
Carolina ; and many of her citizens, influenced by the action of Virginia, 
proceeded to canvass the State, and persuaded the people to abandon 
the idea of separate secession. The South Carolina Convention met in 
1852; and although a majority had been elected of those who w T ere in 
favor of secession, that majority gave way to the popular will, and all par 
ties united in asserting the right, but desisting from the act of secession. 

Thus a second time did a Convention of the people of South Carolina 
accede to the request of Virginia. Seven years have since elapsed, and 
instead of that returning sense of justice among the Northern people 
which you doubtless expected, "the assaults upon the institution of 
slavery and upon the rights and equality of the Southern States have 
unceasingly continued, with increasing violence, and in new and more 
alarming forms," until now at length the voice of a brother s blood cries 
to us from the ground; and South Carolina, moved like yourselves by 
that cry, offers her sympathy and proposes a conference ; and " earnestly 
requests of Virginia that she will appoint deputies, and adopt such 
measures as in her judgment will promote the said meeting." 

South Carolina, however, does not expect, neither would she desire 
you to do what your judgments do not approve. She feels well assured 
that under existing circumstances, such a conference is the best step 
which can be taken; and I cannot better discharge the duty entrusted 
to me than in presenting to your consideration the reasons which lead 
to this conclusion. To an audience so intelligent as that which now 
honors me with its attention, I can scarcely advance anything new ; but 
it will lead to a just conclusion if we refresh our memories as to some 
material incidents of the past. 

The great question which underlies all action on this subject, is, 
whether the existing relations between the North and the South are 



254 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

temporary or permanent; whether they result from accidental derange^ 
ment of the body politic, or are indications of a normal condition? In 
the one case, temporary expedients may restore soundness; in the other 
the remedy is either hopeless, or it must be fundamental and thorough. 

In these respects, the invasion at Harper s Ferry is a valuable expo 
nent. It furnishes many indications by which we may ascertain the 
actual condition of things. It is sort of a nilometer by which we can 
measure the height of the flood which is bursting over the land. By the 
Providence of that God who preserved your people from the knife of the 
assassin, you were enabled not only to defeat and capture your enemies, 
but to get possession of arms and documents which expose the design 
and plan of the assailants. You find that months must have elapsed in 
maturing their plans ; that arms were manufactured, the design of which 
could not be mistaken ; that large sums of money must have been col 
lected. It is certain, therefore, that many persons must have known 
that such a blow was intended ; and yet who spoke? Who gave a single 
friendly warning to Virginia? One voice indeed indistinctly uttered to 
the Federal government a warning, but that voice was disregarded, and 
the catastrophe burst upon us as a thunder storm in midwinter. 

The loyal sons of Virginia rush to her defense, and the military arm 
bows to the majesty of law, and delivers the murderer to a just and im 
partial trial. A new incident in the history of crime is developed. 
Learned counsel from a distant city, once styled the Athens of America, 
proceed to a distant village to offer their services to defend the mid 
night assassin. Political offenses have sometimes found voluntary de 
fenders, but the moral sense must be absolutely perverted when it is 
deemed a virtue to screen the murderer from punishment. The excite 
ment grows, and your courts of justice cannot proceed as in ordinary 
cases of crime. You are compelled to surround them with military 
power; and when the law has pronounced its sentence, you are com 
pelled to guard the prison-house and the scaffold, to keep at bay the 
confederates and sympathizers with crimes heretofore execrated by 
every civilized people upon earth. 

The indications of this implacable condition of Northern opinion do 
not stop here. The sentence of death upon the criminals and their exe 
cution are bewailed with sounds of lamentation, such as would now fol 
low a Ridley or a Latimer to the stake, and public demonstrations of 
sympathy exhibit themselves throughout the entire North. To the great 
discredit of our institutions and of our country, motions are entertained 
in bodies exercising political power to honor the memory of a wretched 
fanatic and assassin, and in one body the motion failed only for want of 
three votes. These are indications which you cannot disregard. They 
tell of a state of public opinion which cannot fail to produce further 
c-vil. Every village bell, which tolled its solemn note at the execution of 
Brown, proclaims to the South the approbation of that village of insur- 



CONVENTION OF 1852. 255 

rection and servile war, and the ease with which some of the confederates 
escaped to Canada proves that much of the population around are will 
ing to abet the actors in these incendiary attempts. 

To view this matter in its just proportions we must set it at a little 
distance from us. Familiarity accustoms us so much to things near that 
we lose the perception of their magnitude. A daily observer of the 
Falls of Niagara may be brought to look upon them as the ordinary 
descent of water down a river. Let us, therefore, suppose that the 
attempted assassination of Louis Napoleon at the Opera House in Paris 
had been followed by developments showing the contribution of arms 
and money in England; that upon the arrest of the detected assassins 
learned counsel had crossed the channel to volunteer a defense before 
the French courts; that upon his condemnation threats of sympathy 
compelled the government to surround the scaffold with arms ; and upon 
his execution bells were tolled in many English villages; and as a con 
summation of the whole, a motion were entertained to adjourn the Par 
liament in honor of the memory of the assassin, and that this motion 
had failed in one house only by three votes. Does any man suppose that 
under these circumstances the peace of Europe could have been pre 
served for a day ? Unless prompt disavowal and punishment had been 
offered, every Frenchman would have been ready to cross the channel as 
an enemy, and the civilized world would have regarded the English peo 
ple as a nation of outlaws. 

In our country, so far from there being any proper indication of dis 
avowal, the indications are the other way. Elections have taken place 
at the North since the Harper s Ferry invasion, in which the public sen 
timent has been exhibited. Those who maintain the abolition views 
have proved stronger than they ever were before. In New York they 
have triumphed over the other parties combined together, and in Bos 
ton, notwithstanding an attempt to stay the tide, the same result has 
followed. In Congress the same lamentable exhibition is afforded. 
More than one hundred members prefer to keep the government disor 
ganized, rather than abandon a candidate whose recommendation of a 
book, inviting a combined effort to introduce anarchy and servile war at 
the South, makes him obnoxious to the South; and of these some sixty 
have signed a recommendation of the same book; and there they stand, 
and have stood for more than six weeks, with unbroken front, refusing 
any kind of concession to the outraged feelings of the South. Can any 
Southern man believe that these representatives do not represent the 
feelings of their constituents, and that they would venture upon the 
measure of keeping the government disorganized against the public 
opinion that is behind them ? 

Here, then, we have before us the North and the South, standing face 
to face, not yet as avowed and open enemies, but with deep-seated feel 
ings of enmity rankling in their bosoms, which at any moment may 



256 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

burst forth into action. Is it wise, when we see flame shining through 
every crevice, and ready to leap through every open window ; is it wise 
to close the window, and fill up every gap, and shut our eyes to the fact 
that the fire is raging within the building? It is not wise. We must 
examine the premises and determine whether the building can be saved 
or whether it must be abandoned. 

We have now reached this point in our inquiry. The Harper s Ferry 
invasion, with the developments following it, and the now existing con 
dition of the country, prove that the North and the South are standing in 
hostile array the one with an absolute majority, sustaining those who 
meditate our destruction and refusing to us any concession or guaranty, 
and the other baffled in every attempt at compromise or security. 

The inquiry which must naturally follow would be into the causes 
which have led to this result, and whether these causes are transient in 
character, or must continue to operate until they result in the final 
overthrow of our institutions. 

To determine this question, it becomes necessary to review a portion 
of the history of our country. 

At the termination of the Revolutionary war there were six slave- 
holding States and seven non-slaveholding. The Northern section had 
no territory but that from which has since been formed the States of 
Vermont and Maine. The Southern owned the Northwest and the 
Southwest; and had in its possession the means of expanding itself into 
the numerous States which have since been formed out of this territory. 
The local law of slavery in the parent State would have followed in the 
offspring, and the result must have been that the power of the South 
would have had the vast preponderance. At that time, too, the com 
merce of the South was equal to that of the North; and occupying a 
more favorable position, both as to soil and climate, there was every rea 
sonable prospect that she would be in the advance in all the elements of 
national strength. 

How different a result do we this day realize? The North has grown 
to a degree of power and grandeur unequalled in the history of the 
world. They have taken possession of the magnificent inheritance of 
the South, and on the fertile plains which should have been ours, they 
gather their thousands, and utter voices of .denunciation against those 
who bestowed upon them the power and wealth which they enjoy. What 
are the causes of these results? How has it come to pass that the South, 
having in its hands the means of unlimited progress and certain pre 
ponderance, has been reduced almost to the condition of a suppliant, 
whilst the North has grown into such proportions that it assumes to give 
law as a master? 

The more perfect union of the States was an object of great interest 
to the Revolutionary patriots. In 1784 Virginia led the way by ceding 



CONVENTION OF 1852, 257 

to the United States her magnificent domain North of the Ohio river. 
The terms of Virginia s act of cession required that the States to be 
formed from this territory shall be " admitted members of the Federal 
Union, having the same rights of sovereignty, freedom and indepen 
dence as the other States." Shortly after the cession a committee of the 
Congress of the Confederation was raised to frame an ordinance for the 
establishment of the territory. This committee, of whom Mr. Jefferson 
was one, reported an ordinance excluding slavery after the year 1800. 
This restriction on slavery, however, was struck out by the Congress on 
the motion of North Carolina, every Southern State and every Southern 
delegate except Mr. Jefferson voting for striking out, and the ordinance 
was adopted without the restriction. During the several subsequent 
sessions of Congress other propositions were moved, and, finally, on the 
13th of July, 1787, just two months before the adoption of our present 
Constitution, the ordinance was adopted, with the restriction clause as 
follows : 

" ART. 6. There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in 
the said territory otherwise than in the punishment of crimes, whereof 
the party shall have been duly convicted: Provided always, That any 
person escaping into the same from whom labor or service is lawfully 
claimed in any one of the original States, such fugitive may be lawfully 
reclaimed and conveyed to the person claiming his or her labor or ser 
vice as aforesaid." 

Three things are apparent from this statement. The first is that Vir 
ginia and the South made this great concession for the sake of the Fed 
eral Union ; the second is that the concession was made upon the express 
condition that fugitive slaves escaping into this territory should be re 
stored to their owners, and the third is that at this early period, long 
before fanaticism had mingled in this controversy, and before the South 
had any apprehension as to her equal rights, the North, with far-reach 
ing craftiness, secured to itself a predominance of eventual power in the 
Union. The generous and confiding character of the South overlooked 
these considerations. Her statesmen were then in possession of the 
government. General Washington was at the head, surrounded by gen 
erous and noble spirits, and the slave-holder and the non-slave-holder had 
so often stood side by side in conflict with their enemy that they still 
deemed each other brethren. 

But what has been the effect of these cessions upon the relative con 
dition of the North and the South? From this ceded territory nine 
States have grown : Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ken 
tucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. These States, added to the 
six original slave States, would have increased their number to fifteen. 
The Northern States, having but two new States to add to their original 
seven, would have numbered nine in all. Hence it would have followed 



258 t LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER; 

that the South would now have had 30 senators and 122 representatives 
in Congress, whilst the North would have had only 18 senators and 92 
representatives. The effect of the cessions, however, has been to give to 
the North 5 out of these 9 States, whilst the South retained but 4. The 
Northern States have, therefore, added these 5 to their original 7, which 
12 being added to Vermont and Maine made their number 14, against 10 
Southern States, and the distribution of power according to the present 
basis gives to the North, as the effect of these cessions, 28 senators and 
140 representatives in Congress, while the South has only 20 senators 
and 74 representatives. 

History does not afford a parallel for so magnanimous and voluntary 
a surrender. Virginia, which contributed the largest portion, was per* 
haps more independent than any of her sisters. With a climate and 
soil the most favored by nature with an extended commerce with fine 
ports and noble rivers with somewhat of a navy, and with a well-tried 
militia, she was quite able to stand alone. But she gave up all for the 
sake of union. Nay, more the whole produce of the sales of all the 
lands ceded by the South, amounting to some one hundred and fifty 
millions of dollars, was thrown into the coffer of the Union whilst the 
sales in the northern portion of the Union was reserved to themselves. 
Surely if there could be created a sentiment of gratitude and brotherly 
love in States, that sentiment should have existed in the Northern 
States toward the people of the South. 

The next event of importance in this history was the purchase of 
Louisiana. This acquisition was made in April, 1803, under the treaty 
with France, and was approved by the whole Union. The territory ac 
quired was all slave-holding. The rights of the inhabitants were ex 
pressly guaranteed to them by treaty ; and the local law being that of 
a slave-holding country, of course attached throughout its entire ex 
tent. Ten States have been or are about to be formed from this pur 
chase. At the date of the treaty there were eight slave-holding and 
nine non-slave-holding States; and from the territory then belonging to 
the Union, the slave States could add to their number but two, to-wit : 
Alabama and Mississippi whilst five remained to be added to the 
North, namely: Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Maine. 
When these should all have been admitted, the North was to have four 
teen States the South but ten. The purchase of Louisiana by extend 
ing the local law of slavery over all its territory, added to the South 
this whole area, making in all twenty States; and the acquisition of 
Florida, under the treaty of Spain added one more State, making twenty- 
one Southern States against fourteen Northern. 

Such was the condition and prospects of the Union when Missouri 
applied for admission. Maine had just been admitted without objection, 
and the Union stood at its old position the North having one more 



CONVENTION OF 1852. 259 

State than the South. The admission of Missouri would only have made 
them equal for the time. The opposition, therefore, to the admission of 
Missouri was induced, not by any existing preponderance of the South, 
but by one that was anticipated. Just as they did in 1787, the North 
made use of the attachment of the South to the Union to effect their 
scheme, and insisted that all of the territory west of the Mississippi 
should be given up by the South. It is highly instructive to us, in our 
present circumstances, to notice that the only motive to this refusal to 
admit Missouri must have been to secure power to the North. Fanati 
cism had yet exercised no controlling power. Hatred had not yet been 
excited. The many bonds, social, commercial and religious, which 
bound the country together were yet in full vigor. 

Again the adoration of the South for Union prevailed. A voice from 
its midst, in an evil hour, proposed what it called a compromise, and the 
North eagerly seized and urged it forward. The Missouri Compromise 
took its place on the statute book, and graved in the soil of the Union a 
geographical line between the North and the South. It was called a 
compromise; but unfortunately it differed from the usual acceptation 
of the term, in that it gave all on one side of the line to the North, and 
secured nothing on the other side to the South. By it the North gained 
territory for six additional States, namely: Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, 
Nebraska, Oregon and Washington. The South reserved but two Mis 
souri and Arkansas with the chances of a third from the Indian Terri 
tory. The disastrous consequences of this compromise are portrayed 
with the pen of a prophet by Mr. Jefferson, and I respectfully ask to 
have his words read in your hearing : 

[Extract from a letter of Mr. Jefferson to John Holmes.] 

"MoxTicELLO, April 22, 1820. 

" I thank you, dear sir, for the copy you have been so kind as to send 
me of the letter to your constituents on the Missouri question. It is a 
perfect justification to them. I had for a long time ceased to read news 
papers, or pay any attention to public affairs, confident that they were 
in good hands, and content to be a passenger in oar barque to the shore 
from which I am not far distant. But this momentous question, like a 
fire-bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror. I considered 
it at once as a knell of the Union. It is hushed, indeed, for the moment. 
But this is a reprieve only, not the final sentence. A geographical line, 
coinciding with a marked principle, moral and political, once conceived 
and held up to the angry passions of men, will never be obliterated, and 
every new irritation will mark it deeper and deeper. 

" I regret that I am now to die in the belief that the useless sacrifice 
of themselves by the generation of 1776, to acquire self-government and 



260 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

happiness to their country, is to be thrown away by the unwise and 
unworthy passions of their sons, and that my only consolation is to be, 
that I shall not live to weep over it." 

We will now pass down to the period when a new element was brought 
into this unfortunate controversy. In 1835 petitions for the abolition of 
slavery in places subject to the authority of the general government, 
began to be presented to Congress. This form of proceeding was adopted 
merely to adjust a lever which might reach the institution of slavery 
within the States; and it is hazarding little to affirm that such was dis 
tinctly understood to be the design of the movement. Such an attempt 
should have been met by the prompt and stern rebuke of the common 
government of all the States. For it would seem to be an axiomatic 
truth, that where several States had entered into an alliance, there was 
an obligation on each to respect the institutions of the other; and that 
any attempt to use the alliance for the purpose of assailing the institu 
tions of any one of the parties, was a breach of faith, and must ensue in 
the dissolution of the alliance. Stern rebuke and unyielding resistance 
should have been offered by Congress to all these attempts ; and such 
was the course advised by Southern statesmen. As far back as 1838 the 
dangers which are now around us were clearly foretold by Mr. Calhoun, 
and it may serve to convince us that the final result is not far in the 
future, if we see before us the antecedents which had been distinctly 
traced. I ask leave, therefore, to have read an extract from a speech 
made in 1838 : 

"This was the only question of sufficient magnitude and potency to 
divide this Union ; and divide it, it would, or drench the country in 
blood if not arrested. He knew how much the sentiment he had uttered 
would be misconstrued and misrepresented. There were those who saw 
no danger to the Union in the violation of all its fundamental princi 
ples, but who were full of apprehension when danger was foretold or 
resisted, and who held not the authors of the danger, but those who 
forewarned or opposed it, responsible for consequences. But the cry of 
disunion by the weak or designing had no terror for him. If his attach 
ment to the Union was less, he might tamper with the deep disease 
which now afflicts the body politic and keep silent until the patient was 
ready to sink under its mortal blows. It is a cheap, and he must say, 
but too certain a mode of acquiring the character of devoted attach 
ment to the Union. But, seeing the danger as he did, he would be a 
traitor to the Union, and tlftse he represented to keep silence. The 
assaults daily made on the institutions of nearly one-half of the States 
of this Union institutions interwoven from the beginning with their 
political and social existence, and which cannot be other than they are 
without their inevitable destruction will, and must, if continued, make 
two people of one by destroying every sympathy between the two great 



CONVENTION OF 1852. 261 

sections, obliterating from their hearts the recollections of their com 
mon danger and glory, and implanting in their place a mutual hatred 
more deadly than ever existed between two neighboring people since 
the commencement of the human race. He feared not the circulation 
of the thousands of incendiary and slanderous publications, which were 
daily issued from an organized and powerful press, among those in 
tended to be vilified. They cannot penetrate our section. That was 
not the danger; it lay in a different direction. Their circulation in the 
non-slave-holding States was what was to be dreaded. It was infusing 
a deadly poison into the minds of the rising generation, implanting in 
them feelings of hatred, the most deadly hatred, instead of affection and 
love, for one-half of this Union, to be returned oil their part with equal 
detestation. The fatal, the immutable consequences, if not arrested, 
and that without delay, were such as he had presented. 

" The abolitionists tell you, in so many words, that their object is to 
abolish slavery in the District of Columbia as but one step towards 
final abolition in the States. With this object avowed by the abolition 
ists, what do duty and policy demand on our part? We see the end, 
and that, if it can be effected, it would be our destruction. Shall we 
yield or stand fast ? That is the question. If we yield an inch we are 
gone. The very ground on which we are asked to make the first conces 
sion will be urged on us with equal force to make the second, the third, 
and every intermediate one, till the last is consummated. ... At 
every step they would become stronger and we weaker, if we should be 
so infatuated as to make the first concession. . . . There never was 
a question agitated where the most unyielding opposition was so neces 
sary for success. 

" He ought not, perhaps, to be surprised that Senators should differ 
so widely from him on this subject. They did not view the disease as he 
did. He saw working at the bottom of these movements the same spirit 
which two centuries ago convulsed the Christian world and deluged it 
in blood that fierce and cruel spirit of persecution, which originated in 
assumed superiority and mistaken principles of duty, that made one man 
believe that he was accountable for the sins of another, and that he was 
the judge of what belonged to his temporal and eternal welfare, and 
was bound, at the peril of his own soul, to interfere to rescue him from 
perdition. Against this fell and bloody spirit it was in vain to interpose 
this amendment. . . . An inflexible adherence to our principles and 
our rights, and a decided and emphatic tone, equally remote from vio 
lence or concession, only can save us. The deluded agitators must be 
plainly told that it is no concern of theirs what is the character of our 
institutions, and that they must not be touched here, or in the Territo 
ries, or the States, by them or the government ; that they were under 
the guardian protection of the Constitution, and that we stood prepared 



262 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

to repel all interference or disconnection, be the consequence what it 
might." 

Unfortunately for the South, concession became again its policy. It 
was virtually admitted that the North had a right to assail the institu 
tion of slavery when Congress agreed to receive their petitions. Logi 
cally this admission demanded a consideration of the matter of the peti 
tion. But with singular inconsistency a rule was made that the peti 
tions should be laid upon the table without further action. So violent a 
separation of premises and conclusions satisfied no one, and the result 
was that the agitation continued with unabated zeal. The political par 
ties into which the country was divided made their court to this fanati 
cal element, added to its strength, and gave direction to its blindness. 

Its first fruits were developed in the severance of Christian fellow 
ship in the churches. Inflamed with zeal by imaginary wrong, and as 
suming as an article of the faith that slavery was a sin, they denounced 
their brethren of the South as unworthy of meeting with them at the 
table of their common Master. The professed followers of that meek 
and gentle Saviour who, from the hills of Galilee and from the moun 
tains of Judea had looked down without censure upon thousands of 
dwellings inhabited by slaveholders of that Saviour, one of whose first 
miracles was the healing and restoring to a Roman master his slave 
sick with the palsy, and commending that master, by declaring that he 
had not found faith like his in all Israel ; these Northern professors of a 
new Christianity cannot hold communion with slave-owners ! 

The great apostle of the Gentiles could compass the Roman world, 
and preach to the thousands and tens of thousands of slaveholders 
around him without one word of reproach. He could convert to the 
faith the fugitive slave of one of his friends, and send back to him that 
slave without the smallest imputation upon his faith or practice. Nay, 
more as though the spirit of God had prepared beforehand the means 
to enlighten every Christian upon this very subject the church of God 
is inspired to place in the canon .of Scripture the noble and respectful 
letter written by St. Paul to this slaveholding master. The whole Ro 
man world, from the Euphrates to the Pillars of Hercules, from the 
Danube to Mount Atlas Goths and Ostrogoths, Vandals, Huns, Gauls 
and Britons all can hold communion with each other, through the one 
common Lord, when professing the common faith ; yet, here in the same 
nation, under the same Constitution, with the same Bible, professing 
one faith, the North cannot hold fellowship with the South. The great 
leading denominations Methodist and Baptist have entirely severed 
their connection with each other. The Presbyterian and Episcopalian 
still meet together, and are yet preserved from this fanaticism. But in one 
portion even of Presbyterian and in many of the smaller denominations 
the cords are chafed and worn so as to be incapable of further stress; 



CONVENTION OF 1852. 263 

and so it results that the North acknowledges no fellowship with the 
South. They practically have added a new article to the Christian 
creed, and in all these cases the tidal wave of persecution has set in 
from the North, and at each flow it surges higher and higher upon the 
South without any interval of ebb. 

The next step in our history, to which I must allude, is the admission 
of Texas into the Union. At this period there were twenty-six States in 
frhe Union, evenly divided between the North and the South. Southern 
development had been exhausted; but in the Territory remaining five 
States were yet to be added to the North. The World s Convention 
which met at London in 1843 had taken into its consideration the aboli 
tion of slavery in Texas. In this Convention were delegates from New 
England; and it is matter of history that the Convention waited on the 
British Minister and urged upon him a government loan to Texas to be 
applied towards the abolition of slavery. What took place in the secret 
conclave of the Ministers can easily be conjectured from the following 
outline of a debate in the British Parliament, extracted from the Lon 
don Times : 

"TEXAS. In the House of Lords, on Friday, the 18th of August, Lord 
Brougham introduced the subject of Texas and Texan slavery in the fol 
lowing manner: 

" Lord Brougham said that, seeing his noble friend at the head of the 
foreign department in his place, he wished to obtain some information 
from him relative to a State of great interest at the present time, 
namely, Texas. That country was in a state of independence, de facto, 
but its independence had never been acknowledged by Mexico, the State 
from which it was torn by the events of the revolution. He was aware 
that its independence had been so far acknowledged by this country 
that we had a treaty with it. 

" The importance of Texas could not be underrated. It was a coun 
try of the greatest capabilities, and was in extent fully as large as 
France. It possessed a soil of the finest and most fertile character, and 
it was capable of producing nearly all tropical produce, and its climate 
was of the most healthy character. It had access to the Gulf of Mexico, 
through the river Mississippi, with which it communicated by means of 
the Red river. . . . The markets from whence they obtained their 
supply of slaves were Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia; which States 
constantly sent their surplus slave population, which would otherwise 
be a burden to them, to the Texan market. No doubt it was true, as 
has been stated, that they treated their slaves tolerably well, because 
they knew that it was for their interest to rear them, as they had such 
a profitable market for them in Texas. This made him irresistibly anx 
ious for the abolition of slavery in Texas ; for if it were abolished there, 
not only would that country be cultivated by free and white labor, but 



264 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

it would put a stop to the habit of breeding slaves for the Texan market. 
The consequence would be that they would solve this great question in 
the history of the United States, for it must ultimately end in the aboli 
tion of slavery in America. He, therefore, looked forward most anx 
iously to the abolition of slavery in Texas, as he was convinced that it 
would ultimately end in the abolition of slavery throughout the whole 
of America. He knew that the Texans would do much, as regarded the 
abolition of slavery, if Mexico could be induced to recognize their inde 
pendence. 

" If, therefore, by our good offices, we could get the Mexican govern 
ment to acknowledge the independence of Texas, he would suggest a 
hope that it might terminate in the abolition of slavery in Texas, and 
ultimately the whole of the Southern States of America." 

The Earl of Aberdeen, in his reply, stated that " he need hardly say 
that every effort on the part of Her Majesty s government would lead 
to that result which was contemplated by his noble friend. He was 
sure that he need hardly say that no one was more anxious than him 
self to see the abolition of slavery in Texas; and if he could not consent 
to produce papers, or give further information, it did not arise from in 
difference, but from quite a contrary reason. In the present state of 
the negotiations between the two countries in question, it would not 
contribute to the end they had in view if he then expressed any opinion 
as to the state of those negotiations; but he could assure his noble 
friend that by means of urging the negotiations, as well as by every 
other means in their power, Her Majesty s ministers would press this 
matter." 

Lord Brougham observed that " nothing could be more satisfactory 
than the statement of his noble friend, which would be received with 
joy by all who were favorable to the object of the Anti-Slavery So 
cieties." 

At this important period, the Providence of that God who holdeth in 
His hand the destinies of nations, set aside the powers which man had 
placed in authority over us, and raised up two Virginia patriots in their 
stead. John Tyler and Abel P. Upshur men of sterling character and 
far-seeing statesmanship were put in charge of the ship of state. They 
saw through the schemes of England. With consummate skill and 
earnest zeal they undertook to rescue Texas, and had so far succeeded 
that a treaty was ready for signature between Texas and the United 
States, when the explosion on board the Princeton deprived the coun 
try of the valued life of Judge Upshur. Mr. Calhoun was then put in 
requisition by Mr. Tyler, and the unanimous vote of the Senate called 
him to the post of Secretary of State. In a fortnight ie treaty was 
completed, and once more equality between the North and the South 
was on the eve of being restored. 



CONVENTION OF 1852. 265 

But here intervened one of those unfortunate canvassings for the 
presidency, which are the bane of the South. Mr. Van Buren and Mr. 
Clay, the candidates of the two great parties, each fearing to offend the 
abolition party, or to throw it into the scale of his antagonist, simulta 
neously published letters against annexation ; and at the ensuing ses 
sion of Congress the treaty with Texas was defeated. The good sense of 
the country, however, assisted by that appetite for territory which 
seems to belong to the Anglo-Saxon race, put aside the trammels of 
political machinery and declared in favor of annexation. The unfortu 
nate managers were overwhelmed in the catastrophe, and the Southern 
patriots had the satisfaction of consummating the admission of Texas 
three days before they surrendered the reins of government to their suc 
cessors. 

The condition upon which Texas was admitted into the Union, pro 
vided that from her territory five States might be created in the future. 
Inasmuch as at least five remained to be admitted for the Northern sec 
tion, the admission of Texas gave to the South merely an equilibrium 
in the Senate. The majority in the House was already gone from the 
South forever. The Electoral Colleges if arranged sectionally, would 
give a majority also to the North. So that all that the South acquired 
by the admission of Texas was the power to check a negative power. 
Positive power had already departed from them. 

At this era the Mexican war occurred. The country rushed into it 
with an eagerness which blinded it to all consequences. North and 
South freely contributed its blood and treasure, and freely shared its 
glories and its dangers. But before the paeans of victory had yet sub 
sidedbefore the lamentations for the dead had yet ceased before the 
country could yet see through the clouds of the future the North sum 
moned together its forces to seize for themselves the entire spoils of the 
war. The Wilmot proviso was brought forward during the war, in Au 
gust, 1846, and so far as the House of Representatives in Congress was 
concerned, was adopted. By this proviso it was declared that slavery 
should be excluded from all territory to be acquired from Mexico. The 
Southern States were informed that although their blood and treasure 
had contributed to the result although the bones of their slain lay en 
tombed before the fortresses and among the mountains of Mexico 
although Monterey and Churubusco and Buena Vista and Chapultepec 
were names sacred to the glories of North or South, yet no Southern 
man should stand upon the conquered territory upon the same footing 
with the Northern. The institutions of the North, whether Mormon or 
Infidel, might attend them the Chinaman or the Lascar, or the Sand 
wich Islander or the Zambo all might have equal protection and right, 
but the most valuable property of the Southern man must be left 
behind. 



266 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGEK. 

It is not surprising that the Southern States should have been fired 
with indignation at this attack. But what availed that ? Although in 
1846 the Senate checked the proviso by a mano3uvre, yet in 1847 it was re 
newed upon the expanded basis of excluding the South from all terri 
tory on this continent. This also passed the House of Representatives, 
and was again defeated by the management of the Senate. 

Forbearance could sustain no more. The Legislatures of the South 
ern States began to speak their deep and settled indignation. 

Virginia in March, 1847, thus announced her purpose : 

[Extract from Virginia resolutions of 1847.] 

" 2. Resolved, unanimously, That all territory which may be acquired 
by the arms of the United States, or yielded by treaty with any foreign 
power, belongs to the several States of this Union as their joint and 
common property, in which each and all have equal rights, and that the 
enactment by the Federal government of any law which should directly 
or by its effects prevent the citizens of any State from emigrating with 
their property of whatever description into such territory, would make 
a discrimination unwarranted by and in violation of the Constitution 
and the rights of the States from which such citizens emigrated, and in 
derogation of that perfect equality that belongs to the several States as 
members of this Union, and would tend directly to subvert the Union 
itself. 

" 3. Resolved, That if in disregard alike of the spirit and principles of 
the act of Congress on the admission of the State of Missouri into the 
Union, generally known as the Missouri Compromise, and of every con 
sideration of justice, of constitutional right and of fraternal feeling, the 
fearful issue shall be forced upon the country, which must result from 
the adoption and attempted enforcement of the proviso aforesaid as an 
act of the general government, the people of Virginia can have no diffi 
culty in choosing between the only alternatives that will then remain 
of abject submission to aggression and outrage on the one hand, or de 
termined resistance on the other, at all hazards and to the last ex 
tremity. 

" 4. Resolved, unanimously, That the General Assembly holds it to be 
the duty of every man in every section of this Confederacy, if the Union" 
is dear to him, to oppose the passage of any law for whatever purpose, 
by which territory to be acquired may be subject to such a restriction. 

" 5. Resolved, unanimously, That the passage of the above mentioned 
proviso makes it the duty of every slave-holding State, and of all the citi 
zens thereof, as they value their dearest privileges, their sovereignty, 
their independence, their rights of property, to take firm, united and 
concerted action in this emergency." 

South Carolina uttered the same language in December of the same 
year; and the other Southern States responded in such a manner as to 



CONVENTION OF 1852. 267 

produce a pause. The treaty with Mexico was signed in May, 1848, and 
an attempt was then made in Congress to arrange the territory acquired 
to the satisfaction of the North and the South. The South asked no 
more than that their rights and property, as guaranteed by the Consti 
tution, should be respected. The North, on the other hand, demanded 
the total exclusion of Southern institutions. With a view to some pro 
per adjustment, a committee was raised in the Senate consisting of an 
equal number of Northern and Southern men. The chairman was Mr. 
Clayton, from the neutral State of Delaware. Hear his account of the 
proceedings of the committee : 

"As soon as we assembled, a proposition was made by a member 
from the South to extend the Missouri Compromise line to the Pacific. 
The vote upon it stood, four Southern members for it, and four Northern 
members against it. We renewed the proposition in every conceivable 
form; but our Northern friends rejected it as often as it was proposed. 
We discussed it we entreated them to adopt it. We did not pretend 
that it was a constitutional measure, but that it had been held by many 
as a compact between the North and the South, and was justified as a 
measure of peace. We argued to show the justice of extending the line 
to the Pacific. I obtained a statement from the Land Office, showing that 
by such an extension of the line the North would have the exclusive oc 
cupation of one million and six hundred thousand square miles in the 
Territories outside the States, and the South but two hundred and sixty- 
two thousand square miles, in which, observe, slavery could only be 
tolerated in case the people residing there should allow it. The propo 
sition being rejected by the North, there was, indeed, as the Senator 
from South Carolina (Mr. Calhoun) has described it, a solemn pause in 
the committee. All hope of amicable settlement for the moment van 
ished, and unnatural contention seemed likely to prevail among us. It 
was then proposed to rest the present hope of settlement on the Supreme 
Court as the ark of our safety. We came into the Senate with three- 
fourths of the committee in favor of it, and the other fourth not fixed 
against it. An appeal was provided in the bill from all decisions of the 
territorial judges in cases of writs of habeas corpus, or other cases 
where the issue of personal freedom should be presented. The South 
agreed in the Senate, with extraordinary unanimity, to submit the 
validity of their claims to the Supreme Court ; but the North were by no 
means so unanimous. There was, however, a majority in favor of the 
bill embracing this principle. Having passed the Senate, it was sent to 
the House, where, on the twenty-eighth day of July, 1848, it was defeated 
by a vote of one hundred and twelve to ninety-seven five-sixths of the 
opposition to it being from the North." 

The failure of this scheme left the Territory without government, 
and in August, 1848, the Oregon Territorial Bill was passed ; by the 26th 



268 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

section of which, it was enacted that the inhabitants of the said Terri 
tory shall be entitled to all the privileges granted by the ordinance of 
1787, and " shall be subject to all the conditions, and restrictions and 
prohibitions in said articles of compact imposed upon the people of said 
Territory." Here, then, was an enactment of the Wilmot proviso; but 
as it only covered territory north of 36 30\ the President approved it 
on that ground. And the South acquiesced again. 

The conflict was still continued as to the remaining territory; and in 
1849, Virginia repeated and confirmed her resolutions of 1847, and added 
another as to the slave trade in the District of Columbia The following 
are the resolutions : 

[Extract from resolutions of the General Assembly of Virginia, adopted January 29, 1849.J 

" 5. Resolved, unanimously, That the passage of the above mentioned 
proviso makes it the duty of every slave-holding State, and all the citi, 
zens thereof, as they value their dearest privileges, their sovereignty, 
their independence and their rights of property, to take firm, united and 
concerted action in this emergency. 

" II. Resolved, That we regard the passage of a law by the Congress 
of the United States, abolishing slavery or the slave trade in the District 
of Columbia as a direct attack upon the institutions of the Southern 
States, to be resisted at every hazard. 

" III. Resolved, That in the event of the passage by Congress of the 
Wilmot proviso, or any law abolishing slavery or the slave trade in the 
District of Columbia, the Governor of this Commonwealth is requested 
immediately to convene the Legislature of this State (if it shall have 
adjourned) to consider of the mode and measures of redress." 

South Carolina again responded in December, 1849, and declared that 
the time for action had come; and she was not mistaken, for immedi 
ately thereafter the President of the United States sent out his military 
Governor to organize the Territory of California. At his word election 
districts are formed and electoral rights conferred, and the promiscuous 
horde whom war and the spirit of adventure had collected in California 
are invested with authority to make a Constitution, and by it exclude the 
entire South from any participation in the wealth of that whole region. 

In 1850 this Constitution came before Congress and was adopted with 
the other measures, known as the Compromise of 1850. South Carolina 
regarded these measures as a mere aggravation of the injuries before 
heaped upon the South. She considered the Constitution of California, 
when sanctioned by Congress, to be a virtual enactment of the Wilmot 
proviso. Even the Missouri Compromise line had been disregarded by 
that Constitution ; and the entire Pacific Coast had now, by the opera 
tion of the Oregon bill and this Constitution of California, been closed 
to Southern emigration. One of these Compromise measures enacted as 
follows: 



CONVENTION OF 1852. 269 

" It shall not be lawful to bring into the District of Columbia any 
slave whatever for the purpose of being placed in depot to be subse 
quently transferred to any other State or place to be sold as merchan 
dise; and if such slave be brought into the said District by its owner, or 
by the authority or consent of its owner, contrary to the provisions of 
this act, such slave shall thereupon become liberated and free." 

This law raised the issue upon which Virginia had pledged herself to 
act; and South Carolina, in going forward, considered herself merely as 
the front rank in the advancing column of her sisters. I refer again to 
these incidents merely as facts, with no intention to censure or impute 
wrong. They must be mentioned to explain and to justify the course of 
South Carolina, and they show that in each stage of her progress she 
had, as she thought, the concurrence of her sister States. 

In her judgment the other compromise measures of 1850, which 
changed the boundary of Texas, was equally exceptionable. It with 
drew territory from the State of Texas for no other apparent purpose 
than to convert that Territory into free soil, and brought close upon the 
flank of the Southern States the very instrument for their destruction 
which Lord Brougham had sought in 1843 ; and for all this the equiva 
lent offered to the South was a fugitive slave law, which, we believed, 
would be as persistently eluded by the Northern States as the obliga 
tion which the constitution and the previous laws of Congress had al 
ready imposed on them. 

Entertaining these opinions, South Carolina proceeded to arm her 
people. Desiring to act in concert with the South, she first sent dele 
gates to a Southern Congress, and next prepared herself to secede from 
the Union. At this stage of her progress she was met by your resolu 
tions of 1851, in which you declared your acceptance of the compromise 
of 1850, and your request to us to desist from our purpose of secession. 
We did desist. We restrained our gallant coursers, although with great 
straining upon the reins of State. We have stood still from that day, 
and almost mute. We have waited as you desired, and what have since 
been the results ? 

Kansas next came upon the stage of action. A strong effort is made 
in Congress by those who yet believed in the virtue of reasoning with 
fanaticism, and of persuading the demagogue to remove the \vhole sub 
ject of slavery from the halls of Congress. The Kansas-Nebraska act 
is passed, the Missouri compromise is repealed. At the same time the 
Supreme Court lends its aid by the Dred Scott decision, and the South 
is congratulated that now she is to have that peace for which so many 
sacrifices had been made. 

No sooner is this done but the contest assumes a new and more 
alarming character. Throughout the North societies are organized for 
taking possession of Kansas. Emigrants are sent out armed to the 



270 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

.teeth, and the arms are furnished by the pulpit and the press. The 
South can do no less than defend itself, and thus civil war is waged in 
the Territory between North and South; and nothing but its distance 
in the far West prevented it from involving the entire country. That 
war was crushed out by the forces of the Federal government ; but the 
blood-hounds whom it trained were kept in leash to break forth upon 
Harper s Ferry. It has ended in the complete delivery of Kansas to the 
North. And now the two sections stand front to front the North elate 
with victory, in possessio n of both houses of Congress, and only awaiting 
the Presidential election to seize upon the purse and the sword of the 
nation. 

Heretofore each section of the Union was represented in either camp. 
But now both camps are sifted, and no familiar voice from either section 
is lifted to stay the sounds of angry vituperation. A broad geograph 
ical line is ploughed into the soil, and none may cross it but with sword 
and buckler. Compare this state of things with the period when a few 
fanatical followers rallied around Birney as their leader. Look at the 
struggle made at the last Presidential election, and consider how nearly 
we had reached the crisis. The Delilah of the North had already cried 
out, " The Philistines be upon thee, 0, Samson." And although on that 
occasion he burst asunder the withes and gave us respite for four years, 
yet now again are new bonds in preparation, and this time we have 
reason to fear that the locks of our strength have been shorn ; and, made 
blind beforehand, we are about to be driven to the mill-stones to grind 
meal for our enemies. 

We stand now in the Union, fifteen States to eighteen ; and of these 
fifteen we must consider at least one as neutral. The constitutional 
barrier which we have always had in the Senate is, therefore, gone, and 
with it all power to check the appointments to office. The House of 
Representatives has been lost to us for years. The Electoral College, 
when combined sectionally, must, of course, elect a sectional President; 
and in a few years even the judicial arm, with its slender protection, 
must follow the appointing power. As matters stand, we are virtually 
excluded from all the territory of the Union ; and even the Territorial 
Legislature of Nebraska has ventured to pass an act excluding slavery 
from that Territory. At every point, therefore, we are fairly at bay. 

Arid what is the prospect before us ? Is it likely that the torrent 
which is in motion will be stayed in its course? A few moments con 
sideration of its causes will inform us. The generation which now has 
possession of the political power of the North has been regularly trained 
from childhood to the course which they are now pursuing. At their 
mother s knee they were taught that slavery was a sin. The school then 
surrounded them with pictures and books, in which the lash was repre 
sented in every Southern hand, and the groans of the slave as the music 



CONVENTION OF 1852. 271 

of every Southern household. Horrid spectacles of mothers separated 
from their children ; descriptions of brutal violence and savage disre 
gard of the kindliest feelings of humanity have been set before them, 
and the generous sympathies of youth have been turned against their 
brethren of the same blood, as oppressors of the weak and ignorant 
African. 

To these teachings the pulpit adds its religious sanction. The utter 
ance of anathemas from the minister clothes the sentiment with the 
solemnity of religious truth. Slavery is denounced as a sin, and the con 
science is misled to assume jurisdiction over Southern conduc-t. The 
press then advances, with its thousand tongues, and nothing is heard 
but the continuous cry of wrong, and the earnest appeal for means and 
votes to extinguish that wrong. And here the party leader, with his po 
litical craft and skill, intervenes and gives directions to the one-sided 
energy, which, without him, would soon exhaust itself. Thus we have 
every element of opinion and every power which operates on mind 
brought into requisition to effect one result. That result is as certain 
as that effect follows cause, and that effect must remain permanent, for 
the reason that the causes are permanent and ever acting. 

We are brought then to this conclusion : The South stands in the Union 
without any protection from the Constitution, subject to the government 
of a sectional party, who regard our institutions as sinful, and whose 
leaders already declare that the destruction of these institutions is only 
a question of time. The power of this party must increase from the con 
tinued operation of the causes which have given them their present 
strength. Thus, with the forms of the Constitution around us, we are 
deprived of all the benefits to secure which the Union was formed. 

The preamble of that Constitution sets forth these objects in the 
following terms : 

" We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect 
union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the com 
mon defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessing of 
liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Con 
stitution for the United States of America." 

Where is that more perfect union ? The answer is given by the shout 
which hailed as a hero the murderer and assassin. As the ancient 
Greeks had no name for the parricide, and imposed no punishment for an 
unknown crime, so the fathers of the Constitution provided no means for 
repressing the unimagined invasion of a sister State. Nay, they actually 
disarmed the State, giving up to the Federal government the army and 
navy, and making no provision for protection of a State from invasion by 
a neighboring State. This gave rise to the anomaly exhibited at Har 
per s Ferry in the laws of the Federal government affording no aid to 
the government of Virginia to protect her from invasion. This more per- 



272 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEHMINGER. 

feet union is more strikingly illustrated in the spectacle now exhibited 
in the array of one-half the Union against the other, urged on (as one of 
the speakers at a meeting in Boston most truthfully declares) by a "re 
ligion of hate," which is ready " to break down all laws, human and 
divine." 

But the Constitution was also made to establish justice. The estab 
lishment of justice is evinced in the protection and security of life and 
property. The blood that cries from the ground at Harper s Ferry is 
witness to the security of life, and doubtless the spotted region on Brown s 
map would in due time have added their solemn voices but for the utter 
failure in Virginia. And if these voices do not convince, let the ease 
with which some of the confederates escaped through sister States into 
Canada add its testimony. Nay, more. Suppose jurisdiction of the crime 
had been surrendered to the Federal government, and judgment had 
been delayed until the fourth of March next, how think you that the cul 
prits would have fared with a black Eepublican President entrusted 
with pardoning power ? 

And what protection has the Union afforded to the most valuable 
property of the South that which was chiefly in view when the Consti 
tution was made ? " Thou shalt not steal," says the word of God. 
"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor s slave," says the same authority. 
The Constitution and the " higher law " were therefore in agreement 
when it recognized property in a slave and stipulated to return him to 
his owner. But what is the condition of things in this Union ? Eight at 
least of the States, and I am told as many as sixteen, have enacted laws 
to defeat the rendition of the slave to his master, and at this moment a 
controversy is pending in which even the transit of the slave with his 
master through a free State is declared unlawful. Associations are 
openly formed for the purpose of stealing and receiving the slave when 
stolen, and in one State the owner reclaiming his slave does so on peril 
of an indictment for felony. The high priest of this new religion, occu 
pying a high place in the government, and a probable successor to the 
Presidency, announces to his followers that they must defend these fugi 
tive slaves as they would their "household gods." 

And how does the Union insure domestic tranquility? Let the ne 
cessity under which this State now is to arm her people let that neces 
sity answer. Let the sounds of war which are yet resounding through 
the streets of this capital answer. Let the restless and uneasy feeling 
throughout the entire South answer. But against whom are we com 
pelled to arm? Who are they that threaten us with coercion and vio 
lence? It is they who are called our brethren ; they who are our rulers ; 
they who formed with us a Constitution for common defense. They or 
ganize in their midst societies to destroy our peace, and to arm the slave 
against his master; they preach a crusade against our institutions; they 



CONVENTION OF 1852. 273 

train up their children to hate and distrust; they abuse to our destruc 
tion the power which the government has confided to them. We have 
surrendered to that government our arms and our fortresses; our army 
and our navy ; our sword and purse ; and soon we may find, to our cost, 
that they are in the hands of an open enemy. 

Time does not permit the further elucidation of this portion of our 
enquiry. Enough, however, has been said to prove that we have a Union 
without a Constitution. The Union indeed stands, but it has ceased to 
effect for us at the South the great objects for which it was formed. It 
is but the carcass of its former self the body without the soul. The 
blessings which it once conferred have departed the glories which once 
surrounded it have been dimmed; and its burdens remain, pressing 
down upon the South without compensation. History is not without its 
illustrations on this subject to teach us wisdom. Republics have, be 
fore ours, been enslaved under all the forms of free institutions. It was 
in the Roman Senate that Sylla sat while the soldiers were butchering 
the citizens of the Republic. It was in the Roman forum that Antony 
thrice offered unto Caesar the kingly crown, which, in deference to the 
forms of the Constitution, he thrice refused; and it w r as in a vain effort 
to restore that Constitution that Brutus and his confederates put Csesar 
to death. Long after the extinction of all liberty, the edicts of the Sen 
ate professed to be in the name of the Roman people, and the Emperor 
himself exercised his absolute authority under the republican names of 
Consul and Imperator. 

Are we then to be misled in the same manner by deceptive appear 
ances? Is it not clear to the Southern people, that w r hen the North have 
banded themselves together, and are in possession of the government, 
the South has become a province of the North? Are they not really in 
a worse condition than they were in 1775? Then, as now, a sectional 
line (wider indeed in extent, but not more so in effect,) separated the 
rulers from their subjects; then, as now, the government was in the 
hands of one section, the other having a choice only between submission 
and resistance. But now, the Southern colonies must bear these addi 
tional aggravations: 

1. Our rulers have been educated from childhood to denounce us and 
our institutions ; so that instead of the kindly sympathy with which a 
government should respond to the feelings of those whom it governs, 
our government is our enemy. 

2. That government being composed of a sectional party, it is the in 
terest of its leaders to keep alive all the elements of sectional strife; 
and the future, therefore, offers to us no prospect of relief. 

3. The immense patronage and spoils of the government, and the 
large interests involved in the public expenditures, and in discriminat 
ing tariffs, bring to the aid of the dominant party every selfish interest, 

1 8 



274 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

and enable it to rivet its fetters upon the South, while the hope held out 
to Southern aspirants for office is used to corrupt our leaders and con 
found our people. 

4. The Southern States are degraded from their position of equality 
by the open announcement that they shall have no further expansion, 
while the North, flushed with victory, are seizing the whole territory of 
the Union, and give us plainly to understand that our institutions are 
already doomed, and merely await execution of the sentence. 

5. And finally, we are graciously informed that the arrangements of 
Southern capital and labor do not please our masters, and that an irre 
pressible conflict has commenced which must end in the overthrow of 
Southern civilization. 

Even the Autocrat of Russia feels a sympathy with his Siberian serfs, 
and would never allow his government to be regarded as the instrument 
of their ruin. If we are to be provinces, better a thousand times bet 
ter to have in our rulers at least the prestige of an illustrious line of 
noble ancestry ; to be governed by nature s noblemen, instead of the 
scum which the surges of party roll up on its surface. 

But we are told that we are not in so hopeless a condition ; that there 
are good men and true at the North who will break down this sectional 
tyranny; and we are referred to the meetings lately held in some of 
our Northern cities. I honor the magnanimity and courage of those 
noble spirits who have ventured to stem the torrent of prejudice and 
fanaticism. But their efforts have proved vain. They cannot fail to be 
vain, because they give up the citadel to the enemy. Even the presi 
dent of the Boston meeting declares that not an inch more is to be yielded 
to the extension of slavery. Every speaker, save one, (and that one I 
honor for his patriotic firmness and sagacity Mr. O Conor, of New 
York,) admits the justness of the Northern condemnation of slavery. 
This germ contains the logical sequence s which the North have followed 
out into action. There can be no peace until they either change their 
opinions, or cease from taking any cognizance whatsoever of slavery. 
They must respect it as they would marriage, parental authority, or 
any other legitimate institution of a sister State, and until oar defend 
ers take this position, they build upon the sands. 

But why waste our time in surmise when realities are thrust openly 
before us ? Can any one mistake the roaring of the storm at Washing 
ton ? Has the column of the Republican party there shown any sign of 
wavering ? Was ever such a spectacle presented to this country be 
fore ? There are plainly exhibited the dire results of this array of sec 
tions; and there in that conflict for the mastery is foreshadowed that 
real conflict between the States to which we are soon to be summoned. 

Will you undertake that conflict singly, or shall we act in concert ? 
That is the great question which I am commissioned to ask. In 1817 



CONVENTION OF 1852. 275 

and again in 1849, your judgment pronounced in favor of "concerted 
action." We have adopted your judgment and we come now to pro 
pose the conference. From the Federal government as it stands we can 
expect nothing. From the Northern States we have been repelled with 
denunciation. Our only resource then is in ourselves, and among our 
selves union is strength. 

The great and leading argument in favor of a conference is, that it is 
the proper step in any contingency. It is a measure which will preserve 
the Union if it can constitutionally be preserved; and if it cannot, it is 
the proper preparatory step for Southern defense. Those who desire 
the maintenance of the Union must perceive that nothing is more 
likely to drive back the aggressions of the North, and to restore us to 
rights, than the exhibition of a united and determined purpose of re 
sistance. And those who believe that the Union cannot be preserved, 
will equally perceive that a Southern conference is a necessary step to 
effective Southern defense. This measure ought, therefore, to unite all 
parties excepting alone that (if there be any such) which favors uncon 
ditional submission. 

And what shall be the advice which may reasonably be expected from 
such a conference ? Certainly they will require a restoration of the Con 
stitution and the perfect equality of the Southern States. Could any 
measure be more likely to effect this result than the united demand of 
the whole South? Say to the North, repeal at once all your enactments 
against the just rendition of our slaves; break up your underground 
railroads; perform towards us your constitutional obligations, and re 
store to us all those rights which the comity of nations as \vell as the 
Federal Constitution guarantee to us. We insist that nations bound to 
each other as we are cannot agitate and form societies to impair the in 
stitutions recognized by the laws of either, and we demand the immedi 
ate suppression of such societies and the return of tranquility to oar 
borders. If we are to remain united, we must no longer have our prop 
erty stolen from us, and the 1 thieves and stolen property protected by 
your laws; neither will we hear ourselves denounced as criminals and 
evil-doers w r hile obeying our own laws. Surely the South may unite in 
declaring anew her bill of rights, and it is not yet treasonable to add that 
she must have equality in the Union, or she will seek independence out 
of it. 

It is obvious to every one that if it be possible to procure these de 
mands and to remain in the Union, the united voice of the whole South 
is the only mode of effecting it; and if there be a more forbearing party 
Still, who desire to try in the Union measures of retaliation and non- 
intercourse, or others who hope to prevail upon the North to give us new 
guarantees by amendments of the Constitution of the United States, a 
conference of the South offers the best mode of carrying out their plans. 



276 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

The wisest and best men of the South will be brought together to con 
sider them, and the" wisest and best measures may reasonably be ex 
pected. 

I would be wanting in the frankness and candor due to this august 
assemblage, if I did not plainly declare the opinions which we entertain 
in South Carolina. We have no confidence in any paper guarantees 
neither do we believe that any measures of restriction or retaliation 
within the present Union will avail. But with equal frankness we de 
clare that when we propose a conference, we do so with the full under 
standing that we are but one of the States in that conference, entitled 
like all others to express our opinions, but willing to respect and abide 
by the united judgment of the whole. If our pace be too fast for some, 
we are content to walk slower; our earnest wish is that all may keep 
together. "We cannot consent to stand still, but would gladly make 
common cause with all. We are far from expecting or desiring to dic 
tate or lead. 

There are indeed material guarantees which Southern statesmen 
have proposed, and which, if added to the Constitution, might restore to 
the South its equality in the Union. Among these may be mentioned 
Mr. Calhoun s suggestion of a dual executive; and although attempts 
have been made to detract from this suggestion as impracticable, it may 
be answered that the Roman Republic, with its two Consuls, so far from 
proving an impracticable government, lasted five hundred years, and 
under this dual executive conquered the world. 

Another suggestion has been offered of dividing the Senate into two 
sectional classes, and requiring a concurrence upon all sectional ques 
tions, somewhat after the plan established in the conventions of the 
Episcopal Church of America. This plan has the advantage of actual 
existence in their midst. 

The Governor of this State has proposed that a Convention of the 
United States should be called to determine whether amendments may 
not be made to the Constitution to save the Union ; and if they cannot, 
then that such division be made of the governme-nt property as would 
tend to a peaceful and just arrangement. Such a measure would most 
naturally and properly be preceded by a Southern conference to agree 
beforehand upon such amendments as should be proposed, and such de 
mands as should be made by the South. If such a body should ever 
meet, it would be indeed unfortunate for the South to enter it with 
divided counsels. 

Unquestionably the South is entitled to demand, as already stated, 
an equal share of the territory of the Union ; and the repeal of all laws 
obstructing the return of fugitive slaves; and it would seem to be 
equally unquestionable that she has a right to demand the disbanding 
of every society which is agitating the Northern mind against Southern 



CONVENTION OF 1852. 277 

institutions. These, with a surrender of the power to amend the Con 
stitution of the United States in regard to slavery, would be proper sub 
jects for the consideration of a Southern conference, and would all come 
within the purview of the measure recommended by his Excellency. If 
any of them shall be demanded of the proposed Convention of the United 
States, they would at least serve to test the sincerity of the profession 
of the Northern Unionists. 

On the other hand, those who believe in the efficiency of measures of 
restriction and commercial independence, must perceive that such 
measures would be far more effective if taken in concert. What benefit 
would result from non-importation into Richmond and Norfolk, if Eden- 
ton and Newbern and Beaufort received Northern goods as before ? 
and what good effect would restrictions at Charleston serve, if Savan 
nah should decline concurrence ? The commercial independence of 
the South is certainly an object greatly to be desired. Is it possible to 
advance it more effectually than by the concerted action of the whole 
South ? 

And if a conference should do no more than to turn the eyes of the 
South from presidential elections and Federal office, and stir up our 
leading men to seek position at the South, and to advance and develop 
the resources of our own country, we shall have made a great advance 
towards the solution of our difficulties. And finally if the worst must 
come, and we must take our destinies into our own hands, a Southern 
conference is the necessary step to such arrangements as are requisite 
to take our place among the nations of the earth. 

It is this last consideration that doubtless retards many from yield 
ing to it their support. Such a meeting in 1775 led to the Revolution; 
and it is objected that the meeting of 1860 may lead to the same result. 
To this objection I answer that a similar meeting in 1765 led to the re 
peal of the stamp act; and if the mother country had acted with jus 
tice and moderation, they might have preserved to this day their union 
with the colonies. The meeting of 1775 led to Revolution because 
tyranny and oppression could no longer be borne, and they only can 
object to this result who will maintain that the Revolution was wrong, 
and that America should have crouched beneath the paw of the British 
lion. So also now, if just and moderate counsels shall prevail over 
fanaticism and tyranny if the North shall follow the wise and saga 
cious advice of Pitt and Camden, then the same results will follow as in 
1765. But if they move forward to their unholy purposes with the ran 
corous blindness of Lord North and his associates, then the precedent of 
1775 is the fitting example for the South and the same catastrophy will 
be the fitting end of the drama. If such a result were right then, it 
would be right now; and if it be certain thafcthe North will insist upon 
ruling us as subjects, when they have extinguished our constitutional 



278 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

guarantees and refused our equal rights, then it is true we should at 
once seek our Washington to guide us through the new conflict that 
awaits us. 

Unquestionably there is risk, but that risk is from the perseverance 
of our enemies in wrong. If they will do right all will be well. Must 
we then accept the alternative of unconditional submission because 
there is risk of revolution ? Was there ever a prize to be attained with 
out risk ? It is the law of God that everything valuable must be at 
tained by effort. " In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread;" and 
this sentence is inwrought in all human possessions. Free institutions 
are among the most valuable of these, and they can only be maintained 
by constant and untiring effort. 

" Oh, freedom ! thou art not, as poets dream, 
A fair young girl, with light and delicate limbs, 
And wavy tresses, gushing from her can. 

" A bearded man 

Armed to the teeth art thou ; one mailed hand 
Grasps the broad shield ; and one the sword ; 

Thy brow, 

Glorious in beauty though it be, is scarred 
With tokens of old wars." 

Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen, I have done. I have executed my 
commission. I have discharged as faithfully as I can the high trust 
confided to me by South Carolina. I have delivered into the keeping of 
Virginia the cause of the South. You" who occupy the seats of Wash 
ington and of Henry cannot decide this as an ordinary question of 
legislative duty. In your keeping is the glory of those noble spirits 
who have consecrated the soil upon which we stand. You cannot, you 
will not, dim the lustre which surrounds this capitol by extinguishing 
any of the lights which they have kindled; and may that God whose 
blessings we invoked at the beginning of this deliberation, now attend 
you to the end, and guide you to such a conclusion as will secure the 
welfare and happiness of our Southern country. 

Following the address, the General Assembly of Virginia 
adopted the resolutions we have heretofore presented. 

Mr. Memminger remained in Richmond for several days, 
awaiting the action of the General Assembly on the subject 
matter of his mission. 

He was accompanied to the good old city on the James 
by his daughter, Miss Lucy, then in the bloom of lovely 
young womanhood. Her beauty and grace threw a pecu 
liar charm around the social life of South Carolina s Com- 



CONVENTION OF 1852. 279 

missioner, while she became the recipient of the most deli 
cate attentions from the noble men and women of this old 
metropolis of elegant courtesies. Thus were formed those 
charming social attachments, which in after years made the 
home of the Secretary of the Treasury of the Confederate 
States, in Richmond, among the most attractive of the many 
that illustrated the graces of our Southern civilization at the 
capital of " Dixie." 

Uncertain as to what action the Legislature of Virginia 
would take with reference to his mission, and assured that 
his presence in Richmond could not affect the ultimate action 
of the body, Mr. Memminger addressed the following letter 
to Governor Letcher, and returned to South Carolina : 

RICHMOND, February 7, 1860. 
His Excellency John Letcher, Governor of the State of Virginia: 

DEAR SIR, Having discharged the duties of my mission to the State 
of Virginia, I have been waiting in expectation of bearing back the ans 
wer of the General Assembly. But as that honorable body is not yet 
prepared to respond, and may desire still further time for deliberation. 
I have concluded to return home, and to request your Excellency to 
communicate to the Governor of South Carolina the final answer of the 
Assembly. 

In taking leave of your Excellency, permit me to express the grateful 
remembrance which I shall bear with me, of the regard and respect 
which have been exhibited toward the people of South Carolina, and of 
the kindness and hospitality to myself. Whatever may be the issue of the 
present mission, I earnestly hope that it may serve more closely to unite 
our respective people in the bonds of mutual affection and good will. 

"With much respect, your obedient servant, 

C. G. MEMMINGER 

"While there was no immediate result following upon the 
mission of Mr. Memminger such as was hoped for by those 
who desired the withdrawal of the Southern States from the 
Union yet it was far from being a failure. The logical and 
eloquent appeal made by him to the Virginia Legislature, 
reached the thinking men of the country, and prepared their 



280 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

minds for the events which were soon to convulse the Union 
of States with the throes of a mighty revolution. 

On reaching his home in Charleston, Mr. Memminger sent 
the following report of his mission to Governor Gist : 

CHARLESTON, February 13, 1860. 
His Excellency Wm. H. Gist, Governor of the State of South Carolina: 

DEAR SIR, I respectfully report to your Excellency, that upon the 
receipt of your appointment to the office of Commissioner to the State of 
Virginia, I proceeded to the city o*f Richmond. On my arrival there I 
was received by a committee of the General Assembly as the guest of 
the State of Virginia; and every attention which the most courteous 
and refined hospitality could suggest was exhibited toward me during 
my whole stay in Richmond. 

The Governor of Virginia with considerate forecast, had prepared the 
way for my introduction to the General Assembly, and promptly com 
municated my credentials and the object of my mission ; and I was in 
vited by the General Assembly to explain at large the views of South 
Carolina before the assembled authorities of Virginia. This invitation 
I accepted, and the Governor and the Judges of the State, together with 
both branches of the General Assembly, met together at the Capitol to 
do honor to the State of South Carolina, and to evince their high respect 
for her message. 

I herewith submit to your Excellency a summary of the address 
which I had the honor to deliver on that occasion, as the same was sub 
sequently printed by order of the General Assembly. 

After the delivery of this address, I remained in Richmond, in the 
expectation of bearing back to your Excellency the answer of the Gen 
eral Assembly of Virginia. That honorable body, however, was not pre 
pared to make so speedy a response, and, under the circumstances, it 
seemed to me best that I should return home and await the result of 
their deliberations. Accordingly I addressed to the Governor of Vir 
ginia a final communication, of which a copy is enclosed, and on the 9th 
instant took leave of his Excellency and returned home. 

Whatever may be the result of the mission in relation to the confer 
ence proposed, its effects cannot fail to be beneficial in other respects. 
The warm and kindly feeling which was exhibited to me, was, of course, 
the expression of that feeling towards the State which I represented, 
and every South Carolinian may justly share in it. On every occasion 
of public festivity or private intercourse, where our State or people were 
named, the demonstrations of kindness and respect were so marked as 
to evince the warmest sympathy and fellow-feeling. And although the 
extent of this great State, and the diversity of sentiment which yet pre- 



CONVENTION OF 1852. 281 

vails among her people as to proper remedies may impair her unity and 
promptness of action, yet her high tone and the manly spirit of elevated 
patriotism manifested by her sons ensure her eventual support of the 
equal constitutional rights of the South. 

These rights most of her people still think can yet be secured by 
measures within the Union; and the apprehension that the proposed 
conference must lead to disunion has hitherto been the hindrance to its 
adoption. This apprehension, I have endeavored to show, can only be 
come serious incase the North shall refuse justice to the South. If the 
constitutional rights of the South be set at naught if her security be 
disregarded if a sectional party takes possession of the government 
and delivers up the South without any constitutional protection to the 
combined hatred of fanaticism and faction, then the Union becomes an 
instrument of tyranny, and the South its victim. In that case, truly, 
the apprehension of disunion from a conference would be just. But if, 
as many in Virginia believe, there is yet fraternal feeling enough exist 
ing at the North to stay the tide of fanaticism and to do justice to the 
South, then the apprehension of disunion from a conference is without 
foundation. On the contrary, a conference becomes, in fact, the very 
best instrument to assist the supposed fraternal feeling of the North. 
It would bring to its aid the united action of the South, and by present 
ing a bold and manly front would compel the adversary to respect their 
rights and yield to their demand. 

This view of the subject seems so just that I cannot doubt but that 
it will finally prevail in Virginia. The defenders of Southern rights 
there are firm and elevated patriots. They will not be deterred by pres 
ent difficulties; and even should they fail at present in carrying a 
Southern Conference, I have an abiding conviction that they will be 
sustained by their people, and that Virginia will assuredly take her 
place in the united council of the South. With much respect, 
Your obedient servant, 

C. G. MEMMINGER. 

The following is a copy of the reply of Governor Gist: 

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 
UNIONVILLE, S. C., Feb. 30, 1860. 
Hon. C. G. Memminger: 

DEAR SIR, In acknowledging the receipt of your report on your mis 
sion to the State of Virginia, accompanied with a copy of your address 
before the Legislature, it affords me great pleasure to say that the views 
presented and arguments advanced seem to me unanswerable. And 
although Virginia may hesitate or refuse to act at present, the power of 
truth will ultimately prevail, and she wall take her proper place as a 



282 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. , 

leader of the South in maintaining our rights and redressing our wrongs 
in or out of the Union. 

Whatever may be the result of your mission in other respects, Vir 
ginia has certainly given evidence, in the courtesy and kindness ex 
tended to you, and in the respectful consideration of the resolutions, of 
her high regard for South Carolina, and of a proper appreciation of her 
motives, for which she is entitled to our respectful acknowledgments. 

Allow me to congratulate you, sir, upon the faithful and able manner 
in which you have discharged the high trust committed to you, and to 
thank you, in the name of the State, for your distinguished services. 

WILLIAM H. GIST. 



CHAPTER VII. 
$<?e<?5sioi? of Soutl? Qaroli^a jroft tye Urjioij. 




(HE approval thus made by the Governor of the 
State, which Mr: Memminger had so well repre 
sented, was but the just appreciation of his peo 
ple who had read with great satisfaction the reports of his 
mission to Virginia made through the daily press. 

No people have been more ready, at all proper times, to 
applaud a worthy achievement, and none have done so with 
more becoming grace, or with a more sincere appreciation 
of merit than those who had entrusted the dignity of their 
State and the righteousness of their cause to Mr. Memmin 
ger as their ambassador to Virginia. The editorial comments 
of the leading journals of South Carolina not only, but 
throughout the South, were tributes to the excellency of the 
man, and of congratulations to the people, just to the one 
and a grateful recognition of obligations on the part of the 
other. 

This was especially the case in Charleston, where Mr. 
Memminger had grown into the full stature of a great man; 
where from infancy to mature years he had lived and 
labored, and where he had evidenced the virtues of a noble 
citizenship in a life that had been an open book, "read and 
known of all men." 

The hope that had been entertained and at times encour 
aged by the action of the few conservative members of the 
Free-Soil party, that the Supreme Court of the United 
States would set at rest the questions growing out of the 
annexation of the Western Territories, proved to be ill- 
founded and delusive. 

[ 283 ] 



284 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGE&. 

The decade from 1850 to 1860 was one continued period 
of excitement in which the aggressive spirit of the aboli 
tionists aroused the people of the Southern States to a full 
realization of the danger that not only jeopardized their 
material interests, but threatened their peaceful homes 
with the horrors of internecine war. 

The great Calhoun had appeared for the last time in the 
Senate, and had made his last logical protest against the 
encroachments which prejudice and passion h*ad made and 
were making upon the chartered rights of the States. In 
vain had he sought to amend that charter so as to provide 
for a permanent settlement of all questions growing out of 
the institution of slavery, and to bring tranquility to his 
distracted country. The great Webster had for the last 
time condemned the fanaticism of the abolitionists, and 
with the earnestness of sincere convictions had opposed 
all congressional legislation designed to regulate the insti 
tution of slavery as being unwarranted by the Constitution. 
The great Clay had made his last effort at pacification. 

This mighty triumvirate of American statesmen had 
been gathered to their fathers, and with their warnings, 
their forebodings and appeals, to the patriotism, the modera 
tion and the wisdom of the people, they had honored in 
their long service, lingering as echoes of the forum, they 
had left to other spirits and to other minds the welfare of 
the States. 

Year after year the zeal of the abolitionists had made 
their purpose more and yet more evident, and as the aggres 
sive spirit of this party gathered strength with increasing 
numbers those who were the most zealous became unscru 
pulous in the methods adopted to give expression to their 
fanaticism. The struggle for Kansas, under the influence 
of the " Squatter Sovereignty " doctrine of Senator Doug 
las, had brought about sharp and bloody conflicts between 
the slavery and the anti-slavery factions in that Territory, 



SOUTH CAROLINA SECEDES. 285 

John Brown had made himself notorious and had become 
among the abolitionists the eulogized type of their fanatical 
partisans. Not content v\dth his bloody deeds in the West, 
he had organized a band of kindred spirits, and without 
warning, had made an invasion of Virginia, at Harper s 
Ferry, with the avowed purpose of liberating the slaves and 
inciting an insurrection among them. Finally the Free- 
Soil party, the several abolition societies of the New Eng 
land and Northern States, with the ambitious and dissatis 
fied among the Whigs, and from other political organiza 
tions, had united themselves into an organization known as 
the National Republican Party. 

The Democratic party, which for many years had con 
trolled the administration of the Federal government, had 
become dismembered. The Convention of 1859 forced the 
issue upon which this great political organization divided 
into two factions the one known as the National Demo 
cratic party, lead by Stephen A. Douglas, and the other 
State Rights Democratic Party, and lead by John C. Breck- 
inridge. 

The election for President and Vice-President of the 
United States was about to transpire when the Legislature 
of South Carolina convened in extra session on the fifth of 
November, 1860, in compliance with the proclamation of 
Governor Gist. This extra session was called ostensibly for 
the purpose of appointing electors of President and Vice- 
President, in conformity with the act of Congress, which 
fixed the time when these electors were to be appointed on 
a day when the legislature of the State was not in session. 
In his message to this Legislature, Governor Gist uses the 
following language : 

Under ordinary circumstances your duty could be soon discharged 
by the election of electors representing the choice of the people of the 
State; but in view of the threatening aspect of affairs, and the strong 
probability of the election to the Presidency of a sectional candidate by 



286 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

a party committed to the support of measures which, if carried out, will 
inevitably destroy our equality in the Union, and ultimately reduce the 
Southern States to mere provinces of a consolidated despotism, to be 
governed by a fixed majority in Congress, hostile to our institutions* 
and fatally bent upon our ruin, I would respectfully suggest that the 
Legislature remain in session and take such action as will prepare the 
State for any emergency that may arise. 

That an expression of the will of the people may be obtained on a 
question involving such momentous consequences, I would earnestly 
recommend that in the event of the election of Abraham Lincoln to the 
Presidency, a convention of the people of this State be immediately 
called to consider and determine " the mode and measure of redress." 

The success of the Republican party in electing Mr. Lin 
coln to the Presidency, although by a minority vote, as 
compared with that received by the other candidates jointly, 
having been announced, resolutions were introduced into 
the House of Representatives and also in the Senate, declar 
ing it to be the duty of South Carolina to at once withdraw 
from the Federal Union, and that for this purpose a con 
vention of the people should be called to assemble at an 
early day. 

These several resolutions were embodied in the form of 
" A bill to provide for the calling of a convention of the 
people of the State," which passed both Houses of the 
Legislature by so large a majority as to be practically 
unanimous. 

In compliance with the provisions of this bill, delegates 
from the several districts and parishes of the State were 
elected who assembled in Convention at Columbia, on the 
17th day of December, 1860. 

No more important or more representative assembly had 
ever before met to pass in judgment upon the welfare of the 
people of South Carolina. The great object had in view 
had been distinctly set forth in the act of the Legislature 
calling the Convention, and hence following not alone a 
time-honored custom, that had from colonial days evidenced 
their wisdom, but impressed with the responsibility of the 



SOUTH CAROLINA SECEDES. 



287 



act, the people had selected their best men to represent 
their spirit and to execute their deliberate judgment. The 
following list embraces the names of the delegates chosen 
to this Convention. Among them are many who had be 
come distinguished for their virtues of manhood, and in the 
service of the State: 



D. F. JAMISON, Delegate from Barnwell, and 
Thos. Chiles Perrin, George W. Seabrook, 
Edw. Noble, John Jenkins, 

J. H. Wilson, R. J. Davant, 

Thomas Thomson, E. M. Seabrook, 

David Lewis "Wardlaw, John J. Wannamaker, 
Jno. Alfred Calhoun, Elias B. Scott, 
John Izard Middleton, Joseph E. Jenkins, 



Benj. E. Sessions, 
J. N. Whitner, 
James L. Orr, 
J. P. Reed, 
R. F. Simpson, 
Benj. F. Mauldin, 
Lewis M. Ayer, Jr., 
W. Peronneau Finley, 
J. J. Brabham, 
Benj. W. Lawton, 
John McKee, 
Thomas W. Moore, 
Richard Woods, 
A. Q. Dunovant, 
John A. Inglis, 
Henry Mclver, 
Stephen Jackson, 
Jos. Daniel Pope, 
C. P. Brown, 
John M. Shingler, 
Daniel Da Pre, 
A. Mazyck, 
William Cain, 
P. G. Snowden, 



Langdon Cheves, 
George Rhode, . 
A. G. Magrath, 
Wm. Porcher Miles, 
John Townsend, 
Robert N. Gourdin, 
H. W. Conner, 
Theodore D. Wagner, 
R. Barnwell Rhett, 
C. G. Memminger, 
Gabriel Manigalt, 
John J. Pringle Smith, 
Isaac W. Hayne, 
John II. Honour, 
Richard De Treville, 
Thomas M. Hanckel, 
A. W. Burnett. 
Thomas Y. Simons, 
L. W. Spratt, 
Williams Middleton, 
F. D. Richardson, 



B. H. Rutledge, 
Edward McCrady, 
Francis J. Porcher, 
W. Pinckney Shingler, James Chesnut, Jr., 
Peter P. Bonneau, Joseph B. Kershaw, 

John P. Richardson, Thomas W. Beaty, 
John L. Manning, William J. Ellis, 



President Convention . 
T. L. Gourdin, 
John S. Palmer, 
John L. Nowell, 
John S. O Hear, 
John G. Landrum, 
B. B. Foster, 
Benj. F. Kilgore, 
Jas. H. Carlisle, 
Simpson Bobo, 
Wm. Curtis, 
H. D. Green, 
Matthew P. Mays, 
Thos. R. English, Sr., 
Albertus C. Spain, 
J. M. Gadberry, 
J. S. Sims, 
Wm. H. Gist, 
James Jefferies, 
Anthony W. Dozier, 
John G. Pressley, 
R. C. Logan, 
Francis S. Parker, 
Benj. Faneuil Dunkin, 
Samuel T. Atkinson, 
Alex. M. Forster, 
Wm. B. Wilson, 
Robert T. Allison, 
Samuel Rainey, 
A. Baxter Springs, 
A. I. Barron, 
A. T. Darby, 
Simeon Fair, 
Thomas W. Glover, 
Lawrence M. Keitt, 
Donald R. Barton, 



288 



LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 



John J. Ingram, 
Edgar W. Charles, 
Julius A, Dargan, 
Isaac D. AYilson, 
John M. Timmons, 
Francis H. Wardlaw, 
R. G. M. Dunovant, 
James P. Carroll, 
Wm. Gregg, 
Andrew J. Hammond, 
James Tompkins, 
James C. Smyly, 
John Hugh Means, 
William S. Lyles, 
Henry C. Davis, 
John Buchanan, 
James C. Furman, 
P. E. Duncan, 
W. K. Easley, 
James Harrison, 
W. H. Campbell, 



R. L. Crawford, 
W. C. Cauthen, 

D. P. Robinson, 
H. C. Young, 

H. W. Garlington, 
John D. Williams, 
W. D. Watts, 
Thomas Wier, 
H. I. Caughman, 
John C. Geiger, 
Paul Quattlebaum, 
W. B. Rowell, 
Chesley D. Evans, 
Wm. W. Harlee, 
A. W. Bethea, 

E. W. Goodwin, 
William D. Johnson, 
Alex. McLeod, 
John P. Kinard, 
Robert Moorman, 
Joseph Caldwell, 

T. J. Withers. - 



Wm. Hunter, 
Andrew F. Lewis, 
Robert A. Thompson, 
William S. Grisham, 
John Maxwell, 
John E. Frampton, 
W. Ferguson Hutson, 
W. F. De Sassassure, 
William Hopkins, 
James H. Adams, 
Maxey Gregg, 
John H. Kinsler, 
Ephraim M. Clarke, 
Alex. H. Brown, 
E. S. P. Bellinger, 
Merrick E. Cam, 
E. R. Henderson, 
Peter Stokes, 
Daniel Flud, 
David C. Appleby, 
R. W. Barnwell, 



Attest : BENJ. F. ARTHUR, Clerk of the Convention. 

It is not my purpose to give in detail the proceedings of 
this Convention, ever memorable in the history of South 
Carolina and of the United States. This has already been 
done to a great extent by others; and in this work I desire 
to avoid, as much as possible, the repetition of a history that 
can be readily obtained in another form. 

Conspicuous among these representative men of his State 
in this Convention was Mr. Memminger. If there had 
ever been a doubt of his extraordinary abilities, his integ 
rity of manhood or of his statesmanship, this had been set 
at rest by his course of procedure and his masterly address 
before the Legislature of Virginia. When the great emer 
gency at last came and his people were called upon to select 
their representatives in a convention that was to resume for 
their State a position of sovereignty among the nations, 
they called to their service the man who, under every or- 



SOUTH CAROLINA SECEDES. 289 

deal of trial, had for more than three decades proven his 
fidelity and evidenced his devoted patriotism. Upon the 
organization of the Convention Hon. David F. Jamison was 
chosen president a citizen, who, in the graces of an accom 
plished gentleman, and in his chivalric spirit, was a type 
of the men who had made the history and who illustrated 
the civilization of his State. 

Without unnecessary delay such committees were ap 
pointed by him as were necessary to formulate the work of 
the Convention. Most important among these was the 
committee to which was entrusted the duty of preparing an 
address setting forth the causes which induced and justified 
the secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union 
and of preparing an Ordinance of Secession. 

The committee to draft a statement of the causes which 
justified the secession of South Carolina was composed of 
the following delegates: C. G. Memminger, F. H. V/ardlaw, 
R. W. Barnwell, J. P. Richardson, B. H. Rutledge, J. E. Jen 
kins, P. E. Duncan. 

To draft an Ordinance of Secession: John A. Inglis, R. 
B. Rhett, James Chestnut, Jr., James L. Orr, Maxey Gregg, 
B. F. Dunkin, W. H. Hutson. 

In anticipation of the action of the Convention, and as a 
part of the preliminary proceedings of that body, Mr. Mem 
minger prepared the following "Suggestions for the Declara 
tion and Ordinance of Secession to be proposed to the Conven 
tion," which were printed for the use of that body: 

The State of SoutlTCarolina, having determined to secede from the 
Union of the United States of America and to resume her separate and 
equal place among nations, deems it due to herself, to the United States, 
and to the other nations of the world, that she should declare the reasons 
which have led to this result. 

In the year 1765, that portion of the British Empire which embraced 
Great Britain undertook to make laws for the government of that por 
tion which embraced America. A struggle for the right of self-govern- 

19 



290 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

ment ensued, which resulted, on the fourth July, 1776, in a declaration, by 
the thirteen American colonies, " that they are, and of right ought to be, 
free and independent States; and that, as free and independent States, 
they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, 
establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which indepen 
dent States may of right do." 

They further solemnly declared that whenever any " form of govern 
ment becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established, it is 
the right of the people to alter or abolish it and to institute a new gov 
ernment." Deeming the government of Great Britain, to which they 
were then subject, to have become destructive of these ends, they de 
clared that the Colonies " are absolved from all allegiance to the British 
Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of 
Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved." 

In pursuance of this Declaration of Independence, each of the thir 
teen States proceeded to exercise its separate sovereignty, adopted for 
itself a constitution, and appointed officers for the administration of gov 
ernment in all its departments Legislative, Executive and Judicial. 
For purposes of defense they united their arms and their counsels, and 
in 1778 they entered into a league known as the Articles of Confedera 
tion, whereby they agreed to entrust the administration of their exter 
nal relations to a common agent known as the Congress of the United 
States, expressly declaring, in the first article, " that each State retains 
its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every power, jurisdiction 
and right which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the 
United States in Congress assembled." 

Under this Confederation the War of the Revolution was carried on, 
and on the 3d of September, 1783, the contest ended, and a definitive treaty 
was signed by Great Britain, in which she acknowledged the indepen 
dence of the Colonies in the following terms : 

"ARTICLE I. His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United 
States, viz: New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and 
Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsyl 
vania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina 
and Georgia, to be free, sovereign and independent States ; that he treats 
with them as such ; and for himself, his heirs and successors, relinquishes 
all claims to the government, propriety and territorial rights of the 
same, and every part thereof." 

Thus were established the two great principles asserted by the Colo 
niesnamely, the right of a people to govern itself, and the right to 
abolish a government which becomes destructive of the ends for which 
it was instituted. And concurrent with the establishment of these prm<- 
ciples was the fact that each Colony became and was recognized by the 
mother country as a free, sovereign, and independent State, 



SOUTH CAROLINA SECEDES. 291 

In 1787 deputies were appointed by the States to revise the Articles 
of Confederation, and on the 17th of September, 1787, these deputies 
recommended, for the adoption of the States, new articles of union, 
known as the Constitution of the United States. The parties to whom 
this Constitution was submitted were the several sovereign States; they 
were to agree or disagree, and when nine agreed, the compact was to 
take effect among those concurring; and the general government, as 
the common agent, was then to be invested with their authority. 

Duties were charged on the several States by this Constitution, and 
the exercise of certain powers restrained, which necessarily implied 
their continued existence as sovereign States. But, to remove all doubt, 
an amendment was added, which declared that the powers not delegated 
to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the 
States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. On 23d 
of May, 1788, and the 20th of January, 1790, South Carolina, by conventions 
of her people, passed ordinances --assenting to this Constitution and its 
amendments, and, shortly afterwards, altered her own Constitution to 
conform herself to the new obligations she had undertaken. 

Thus was established by compact between the States, a government 
with defined objects and powers, limited to the express words of the 
grant, and to so much more only as was necessary to execute the power 
granted. Th-at government, like every other, was subject to the two 
great principles asserted by the Declaration of Independence, but the 
mode of its formation subjected it to another fundamental principle. 
Like every other compact or agreement between two or more parties, 
the obligations of this Constitution were mutual, and the failure of one 
party to perform a material undertaking, entirely releases the obliga 
tion of the other. In cases of admitted failure, the right of the other 
party to set aside the compact is perfect ; and where the fact of 
failure is disputed, unless an arbiter is provided, each party is remitted 
to his own judgment, to determine the fact with all its consequences. 

The state of facts upon which South Carolina is now called to act, is 
disembarrassed of this uncertainty, and makes perfect her right to se 
cede from the Union. The Constitution of that Union expressly pro 
vides that fugitives from justice and fugitives from labor, shall be de 
livered up by the State into which they may escape, the former to the 
public authorities, and the latter to the private owner. These stipula 
tions were such material elements to the compact that it could not have 
been made without them ; and, so important was that in relation to 
labor, that it had previously been made a condition, by the State of Vir 
ginia, for the surrender of that territory which now composes the States 
north of the Ohio river. 

The general government, as the common agent, passed laws to carry 
into effect these stipulations of the States. For many years these laws 



292 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the Northern 
States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obli 
gations, and the laws of the general government have ceased to effect 
the objects of the Constitution. Fifteen of the States have passed laws 
which either nullify the acts of Congress, or render useless any attempt 
to carry them into effect. The States of Maine, New Hampshire, Ver 
mont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, 
Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, 
have each placed such laws on their statute book. In the State of New 
York even the right of transit for a slave has been denied by her tribu 
nals; and the States of Ohio and Iowa have refused to surrender to jus 
tice fugitives charged with murder and inciting servile insurrection in 
the State of Virginia. Thus the constitutional compact has been delib 
erately broken and disregarded by the non-slave-holding States, and the 
consequence follows that South Carolina is released from its obligation. 

The ends for which this Constitution was framed are declared by it 
self to be to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domes 
tic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general 
welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our pos 
terity. 

These ends it endeavored to accomplish by a Federal government, in 
which each State was recognized as an equal, and had separate control 
over its own institutions. The right of property in slaves was recog 
nized by giving to their owners political rights, and burthening them 
with direct taxes for three-fifths of their number; by authorizing the 
importation of them for twenty years, and by stipulating for the rendi 
tion of fugitives. 

But the ends for which that government was instituted have all been 
defeated by the people of the non-slave-holding States. The institution 
of slavery has been denounced by them as sinful; societies have been 
established among them, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace 
and eloign the property of their Southern neighbors. Thousands of 
slaves have been encouraged and assisted to leave their homes ; and 
those who remain have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures 
to servile insurrection. 

For twenty-five years this agitation has been steadily increasing, until 
it has finally secured to its aid the powers of the common government. 
The last election for President has advanced to that office a man who 
has distinctly and deliberately declared that States with different 
domestic institutions some free labor, some slave labor cannot exist 
together in the Union. The party which has elected him is altogether 
sectional. It has drawn a geographical line across the Union, on one 
side of which are the ruling majority, and on the other the subject mi 
nority. That party is united together by a sectional question, and is 
urged on by sectional interest and religious animosity. It has an- 



SOUTH CAROLINA SECEDES. 293 

nounced that the South shall be excluded from the common territory ; 
that the judicial tribunals shall be sectionalized and that a war must be 
waged against slavery until it shall cease to exist throughout the United 
States. 

The election gives to this party possession of the government on the 
4th of March ; the guaranties of the Constitution will then no longer 
exist; the equal rights of the States will be lost, and the government 
will have become destructive of the ends for which it was created. The 
South will no longer have the power of self-government or self-protec 
tion ; and the hope of remedy within the Union is rendered vain, by the 
fact that Northern opinion has invested a great political error with the 
dangerous sanctions of a more erroneous religious belief. 

We, therefore, the people of South Carolina, by our delegates in Con 
vention assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the 
rectitude of our intentions, do hereby solemnly declare, that the Union 
heretofore existing between this State and the other States of America, 
is dissolved, and that the State of South Carolina resumes her position 
among the nations of the world, as a free, sovereign and independent 
State ; with full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, 
establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independ 
ent States may of right do. 

And, for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the 
protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our 
lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. 

1. Be it, therefore, ordained, By the people of South Carolina, by 
their delegates, now met and sitting in Convention, that the Ordinances 
adopted by us in Convention, on the 23d of May, 1788, and 20th January, 
1790, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was rati 
fied and amended; and, also, all acts and parts of acts of the General 
Assembly of this State, ratifying amendments of the said Constitution, 
be and they are hereby repealed; that the Union now subsisting be 
tween South Carolina and the other States united in the Union, hereto 
fore known as the United States of America, is hereby dissolved; and 
that the citizens and inhabitants of South Carolina are released from all 
obligation of obedience to the Constitution of the United States. 

And be it further ordained, That all acts of the Congress of the 
United States shall cease to have any force or effect in South Carolina, 
saving, that any criminal under sentence, shall suffer the penalty of his 
crime, under the charge of the proper State officers, unless pardoned by 
the Governor of this State. 

3. Be it further ordained, That all judgments and decrees of the 
courts of the United States heretofore rendered and entered of record in 
this State shall have the same force and effect in South Carolina as they 
had before the passing of this Ordinance, and may be enforced in the 
proper courts of Stfuth Carolina having jurisdiction of the like cases. 



294 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

4. And be it further ordained, That all treaties now of force between 
the United States and any foreign power shall continue to have the 
same force and effect in this State as they had before the passing of this 
Ordinance, until the same shall have been disclaimed, or lawfully al 
tered or abrogated. 

RESOLUTIONS. 

1. Resolved, That it is the opinion of this Convention that the State 
of South Carolina should forthwith secede from the Union of the United 
States of America. 

2. Resolved, That a committee consisting of be appointed 

to draft the Ordinance of Secession. 

3. Resolved, That a committee of members be appointed 

to draft an address to the slave-holding States. 

4. Resolved, That a committee of members be appointed 

to draft an address to the people of the United States. 

5. Resolved, That a committee of members be appointed 

to report what amendments are proper to be made to the Constitution 
of the State, including therein the proper measures in relation to citi 
zenship and naturalization. 

6. Resolved, That a committee of members be appointed 

to report such measures as may be necessary and proper for the imme 
diate defense of the State. 

7. Resolved, That a committee of members be appointed 

to report the proper measures to be adopted for carrying on the trade 
and commerce of the State. 

8. Resolved, That a commission, to consist of three persons, be elected 
by ballot of this Convention to proceed to Washington to negotiate with 
the United States, acting through their general government, as to the 
proper measures and arrangements to be made or adopted in the exist 
ing relations of the parties, and for the continuance of peace and amity 
between them. 

9. Resolved, That five persons be elected by this Convention by ballot* 
who shall be authorized to meet such Deputies as may be appointed by 
any other slave-holding State, for the purpose of organizing or forming a 
Southern Confederacy, with power to discuss and settle a Constitution, 
or plan of Union, to be reported to the said States for their ratification, 
amendment or rejection. That the said Deputies shall invite a meeting 
at Columbia, or at such other place as may be agreed upon among the 
Deputies of the several States, and shall report to this Convention such 
Constitution or Articles as may be agreed on by said Deputies. 

In connection with these suggestions, which were submit 
ted at an early day in the proceedings of the Convention, I 
present the Declaration and Ordinance of Secession as the 



SOUTH CAROLINA SECEDES. 295 

same was adopted by the Convention on the twenty-fourth 
of December, I860, and printed by order of the same. 

By comparing these the reader will readily recognize the 
""suggestions" of Mr. Memmiiiger embodied in the Declara 
tion of the Convention. Hence he has been reputed to have 
been the author of the Ordinance of Secession. 

DECLARATION OP THE IMMEDIATE CAUSES WHICH INDUCE AND JUSTIFY THE 
SECESSION OP SOUTH CAROLINA FROM THE FEDERAL UNION. 

The people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, 
on the twenty-sixth day of April, A. D., 1852, declared that the frequent 
violations of the Constitution of the United States by the Federal gov 
ernment, and its encroachments upon the reserved rights of the States, 
fully justify this State in then withdrawing from the Federal Union ; but, 
in deference to the opinions and wishes of the other slave-holding States, 
she forbore at that time to exercise this right. Since that time these en 
croachments have continued to increase, and further forbearance ceases 
to.be a virtue. 

And now the State of South Carolina, having resumed her separate 
and equal place among nations, deems it due to herself, to the remain 
ing United States of America, and to the nations of the world, that she 
should declare the immediate causes which have led to this act. 

In the year 1765, that portion of the British Empire embracing Great 
Britain undertook to make laws for the government of that portion com 
posed of the thirteen American Colonies. A struggle for the right of 
self-government ensued, which resulted, on the fourth of July, 1776, in a 
declaration, by the Colonies, " that they are, and of right ought to be, free 
and independent States, and that, as free and independent States, they 
have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish 
commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States 
may of right do." 

They further solemnly declared that whenever any "form of govern 
ment becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established, it is 
the right of the people to alter or abolish it and to institute a new gov 
ernment." Deeming the government of Great Britain to have become 
destructive of these ends, they declared that the Colonies " are absolved 
from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connec 
tion between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, 
totally dissolved." 

In pursuance of this Declaration of Independence, each of the thir 
teen States proceeded to exercise its separate sovereignty, adopted for 
itself a constitution, and appointed officers for the administration of gov 
ernment in all its departments Legislative, Executive and Judicial. 



296 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

For purposes of defense they united their arms and their counsel, and in 
1778 they entered into a league, known as the Articles of Confederation, 
whereby they agreed to entrust the administration of their external re 
lations to a common agent, known as the Congress of the United States, 
expressly declaring, in the first article, " that each State retains its sov 
ereignty, freedom and independence, and every power, jurisdiction and 
right which is not, by this Confederation, expressly delegated to the 
United States in Congress assembled." 

Under this Confederation the War of the Revolution was carried on, 
and on the third September, 1783, the contest ended, and a definitive 
treaty was signed by Great Britain, in which she acknowledged the inde 
pendence of the Colonies in the following terms : 

"ARTICLE I. His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United 
States, viz : New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Pro 
vidence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, 
Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and 
Georgia, to be free, sovereign and independent States; that he treats with 
them as such ; and for himself, his heirs and successors, relinquishes all 
claims to the government, propriety and territorial rights of the same 
and every part thereof." 

Thus were established the two great principles asserted by the Colo 
nies, namely: The right of a State to govern itself; and the right of a 
people to abolish a government when it becomes destructive of the ends 
for which it was instituted. And concurrent with the establishment of 
these principles, was the fact, that each Colony became and was recog 
nized by the mother country as a free, sovereign and independent State. 

In 1787, Deputies were appointed by the States to revise the Articles 
of Confederation, and on the 17th September, 1787, these Deputies 
recommended, for the adoption of the States, the Articles of Union, 
known as the Constitution of the United States. 

The parties to whom this Constitution was submitted, were the sev 
eral sovereign States ; they were to agree or disagree, and when the 
nine of them agreed, the compact was to take effect among those con 
curring; and the general government, as the common agent, was then 
to be invested with their authority. 

If only nine of the thirteen States had concurred, the other four 
would have remained as they then were separate, sovereign States, in 
dependent of any of the provisions of the Constitution. In fact, two of 
the States did not accede to the Constitution until long after it had 
gone into operation among the other eleven; arid during that interval, 
they each exercised the functions of an independent nation. 

By this Constitution, certain duties were imposed upon the several 
States, and the exercise of certain of their powers was restrained, which 
necessarily implied their continued existence as sovereign States. But, 
to remove all doubt, an amendment was added, which declared that the 



SOUTH CAROLINA SECEDES. 297 

powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor 
prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, 
or to the people. On 23d May, 1788, South Carolina, by a convention of 
her people, passed an Ordinance assenting to this Constitution, and 
afterwards altered her own Constitution, to conform herself to the obli 
gations she had undertaken. 

Thus was established, by compact between the States, a government, 
with defined objects and powers, limited to the express words of the 
grant. This limitation left the whole remaining mass of power subject 
to the clause reserving it to the States or to the people, and rendered 
unnecessary any specification of reserved rights. 

We hold that the government thus established is subject to the two 
great principles asserted in the Declaration of Independence ; and we 
hold further, that the mode of its formation subjects it to a third funda 
mental principle, namely : the law of compact. We maintain that in 
every compact between two or more parties, the obligation is mutual; 
that the failure of one of the contracting parties to perform a material 
part of the agreement, entirely releases the obligation of the other: and 
that where no arbiter is provided, each party is remitted to his own 
judgment to determine the fact of failure, with all its consequences. 

In the present case that fact is established with certainty. We assert 
that fourteen of the States have deliberately refused for years past to 
fulfil their constitutional obligations, and we refer to their own statutes 
for the proof. 

The Constitution of the United States, in Article IV., provides as fol 
lows : 

" No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws 
thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regu 
lation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be de 
livered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be 
due." 

This stipulation was so material to the compact that without it that 
compact would not have been made. The greater number of the con 
tracting parties held slaves, and they had previously evinced their esti 
mate of the value of such a stipulation by making it a condition in the 
Ordinance for the government of the territory ceded by Virginia, which 
now composes the States north of the Ohio river. 

The same article of the Constitution stipulates, also, for rendition by 
the several States of fugitives from justice from the other States. 

The general government, as the common agent, passed laws to carry 
into effect these stipulations of the States. For many years these laws 
were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slave- 
holding States to the institution of slavery has led to a disregard of their 
obligations, and the laws of the general government have ceased to ef 
fect the objects of the Constitution. The States of Maine, New Hamp- 



298 LIFE AND TINES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

shire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, 
Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa have 
enacted laws which either nullify the acts of Congress or render useless 
any attempt to execute them. In many of these States the fugitive is 
discharged from the service or labor claimed, and in none of them has 
the State government complied with the stipulation made in the Con 
stitution. The State of New Jersey, at an early day, passed a law in 
conformity with her constitutional obligation ; but the current of anti- 
slavery feeling has led her more recently to enact laws which render 
inoperative the remedies provided by her own law and by the laws of 
Congress. In the State of New York even the right of transit for a 
slave has been denied by her tribunals; and the States of Ohio and 
Iowa have refused to surrender to justice fugitives charged with murder 
and with inciting servile insurrection in the State of Virginia. Thus the 
constitutional compact has been deliberately broken and disregarded by 
the non-slave-holding States, and the consequence follows that South 
Carolina is released from her obligation. 

The ends for which this Constitution was framed are declared by 
itself to be " to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure 
domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the gen 
eral welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our 
posterity." 

These ends it endeavored to accomplish by a Federal government, in 
which each State was recognized as an equal, and had separate control 
over its own institutions. The right of property in slaves was recog 
nized by giving to free persons distinct political rights by giving them 
the right to represent, and burthening them with direct taxes for three- 
fifths of their slaves; by authorizing the importation of slaves for 
twenty years, and by stipulating for the rendition of fugitives from 
labor. 

We affirm that these ends for which this government was instituted 
have been defeated and the government itself has been made destruc 
tive of them by the action of the non-slave-holding States. Those States 
have assumed the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic 
institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fif 
teen of these States and recognized by the Constitution ; they have de 
nounced as sinful the institution of slavery ; they have permitted the 
open establishment among them of societies whose avowed object is to . 
disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other 
States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to 
leave their homes; and those who remain have been incited by emis 
saries, books and pictures to servile insurrection. 

For twenty-five years this agitation has been steadily increasing, un 
til it has now secured to its aid the power of the common government. 
Observing the forms of the Constitution, a sectional party has found 



SOUTH CAROLINA SECEDES. 299 

frithin that article establishing the Executive Department the means of 
Subverting the Constitution itself. A geographical line has been drawn 
across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in 
the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States 
whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be en 
trusted with the administration of the common government because he 
has declared that that " government cannot endure permanently half 
slave, half free," and that the public mind must rest in the belief that 
slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction. 

This sectional combination for the subversion of the Constitution has 
been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship persons who 
by the supreme law of the land are incapable of becoming citizens ; and 
their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy hostile to the 
South and destructive of it? peace and safety. 

On the fourth of March next this party will take possession of the 
government. It has announced that the South shall be excluded from 
the common territory; that the judicial tribunals shall be made sec 
tional, and that a war must be waged against slavery until it shall cease 
throughout the United States. 

The guaranties of the Constitution will then no longer exist; the 
equal rights of the States will be lost. The slave-holding States will no 
longer have the power of self-government or self-protection, and the 
Federal government will have become their enemy. 

Sectional interest and animosity will deepen the irritation, and all 
hope of remedy is rendered vain, by the fact that public opinion at the 
North has invested a great political error with the sanctions of a more 
erroneous religious belief. 9 

We, therefore, the people of South Carolina, by our delegates in Con 
vention assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the 
rectitude of our intentions, have solemnly declared that the- Union 
heretofore existing between this State and the other States of North 
America, is dissolved, and that the State of South Carolina has resumed 
her position among the nations of the world, as a separate and indepen 
dent State; with full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract 
alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which 
independent States may of right do. 

AN ORDINANCE TO DISSOLVE THE UNION BETWEEN THE STATE OF SOUTH 
CAROLINA AND OTHER STATES UNITED WITH HER UNDER THE COMPACT 
ENTITLED " TlIE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA." 

We, the people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, do 

declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained: 

That the Ordinance adopted by us in Convention, on the twenty-third 

day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and 

eighty-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America 



. -V 

300 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGEll. 

was ratified, and also, all acts and parts of acts of the General Assembly 
of this State, ratifying amendments of the said Constitution, are hereby 
repealed; and that the union now subsisting between South Carolina 
and other States, under the name of " The United States of America," is 
hereby dissolved. 

It is not my purpose to refer any further, in this work, to 
the action of this memorable Convention. A full history of 
its proceedings would make in itself a volume, which I regret 
to say has not yet been placed among the records of South 
Carolina. I have now in mind a duty to perform, as the 
biographer of Mr. Memminger, which requires me to leave 
the proceedings of this Convention for another compilation, 
which if not undertaken by the writer will doubtless at some 
time engage the attention of another quite as capable. I 
might have followed the course of Mr. Memminger in the 
Convention at considerable length, and in so doing would 
have but added to the many evidences already given of his 
faithfulness in the discharge of duty, his untiring energies ; 
of his disinterested patriotism, and of that earnest spirit 
which carried the logic of his discourse with irresistible force 
to the minds of his hearers. Suffice it now to say, that be 
fore leaving the Convention and transferring to another body 
the honorable trust of service confided to him, he had form 
ulated much of the new legislation necessary to conform 
South Carolina to her changed relations to the United 
States and to the nations of the world. 

The secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union 
was followed in rapid succession by the States of Florida, 
Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas. In 
anticipation of this action by the Southern States, and in 
order to meet with them through delegates who would prop 
erly represent their sovereignty in a Congress, the Con 
vention proceeded to elect eight delegates, two being chosen 
for the Senators, and six for the members of the House of 
Kepresentatives who had heretofore represented the State in 



SOUTH CAROLINA SECEDES. 301 



the Federal Congress. Mr. Memminger and Judge Thomas 
J. Withers were elected for the - Senators, and Robert AY. 
Barnwell, R. B. Rhett, W. AY. Boyce, James Chestnut, Wm. 
P. Miles and L. M. Keitt, for the Representatives. This 
Congress assembled at Montgomery on the 4th of February, 
1861, with the object in view of devising the best means for 
preserving the sovereignty of the several seceded States in 
an association of general government, for the mutual pro 
tection and benefit of each other. The following list con 
tains the names of the delegates from the several States who 
presented their credentials in form and were duly enrolled 
as members of the Congress: 

Alabama H. AY. Walker, R. II. Smith, J. L. M. Curry, 
AY. P. Chilton, S. F. Hale, Coling. T. McRea, John Gill 
Shorter, Daniel R. Lewis, Thomas Fearn. 

Florida James B. Owens, J. Patton Anderson, Jackson 
Morton. 

Georgia Robert Toombs, Howell Cobb, E. A. Nisbet, A. 
H. Stephens, Benj. H. Hill, Thomas R. R, Cobb, F. S. Bar- 
tow, M. J. Crawford, A. H. Kenan, A. R. Wright. 

Louisiana Charles M. Conrad, John Perkins, Jr., A. L. 
DeClouet, D. F. Kenan, Henry Marshall, G. S. Sparrow. 

Mississippi. AY. P. Harris, Walter Brooks, N. L. AA r ilson, 
A. M. Clayton, AY. S. Barry, J. T. Harrison. 

Texas. Louis T. AYigfall, J. H. Reagan, J. Hemphill, T. 
N. Waul, AY. B. Ochiltree, J. Oldham. 

South Carolina. Delegates heretofore named. 

The delegates from Texas were not present at the organi 
zation of the Congress, but appeared shortly thereafter, and 
were duly admitted to seats, upon qualifying, as required 
by the rules previously adopted 

The Congress was temporarily organized by the selection 
of the Hon. Robert W. Barnwell, of South Carolina, as 
chairman, and Mr. Albert R. Lamar, of Georgia, as secre- 



302 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGEIt. 

tary. Subsequently a permanent organization was effected 
"by the election of the Hon. Howell Cobb, of Georgia, as presi 
dent, and Mr. J. J. Hooper, of Alabama, as secretary. The 
deliberations of this Congress were not interfered with by 
any outside influences beyond those sought by the mem 
bers, as the daily sessions were held with closed doors. 
Whatever that legislation was, good or bad, wise or unwise, 
it was formulated by the several committees appointed by the 
President, or at least met their sanction before being acted 
upon by Congress. 

The following names are those of the chairmen of these 
committees, who, to a large extent, were responsible for the 
enactments of this Congress and for the general policy pur 
sued in the organization and conduct of the several depart 
ments of the Confederate government: 

Executive Department. A. H. Stephens. 
Military Affairs. F. S. Bartow. 
Finance. Robert Toombs. 
Judiciary. A. M. Clayton. 
Commerce. C. G. Memminger. 
Naval Affairs. C. M. Conrad. 
Public Lands. Henry Marshall. 
Postal Affairs. W. P. Chilton. 
Foreign Affairs. -E. B. Ehett. 
Territories. James Chestnut. 
Indian Affairs. Jackson Morton. 
Printing. Thomas E, E. Cobb. 
Accounts. James B. Owens. 
Patents. Walter Brooks. 
Engrossment. John G. Shorter. 

To these chairmen, and certainly to the reports and 
recommendations of their committees, can be traced the 
initial legislation which subsequently, and of necessity, di 
rected the course of the Executive Departments of the gov- 



SOUTH CAROLINA SECEDES. 303 

eminent. The earnest spirit and harmony that character 
ized the action of this Congress is evidenced in the fact 
that on the eighth of February, on the fourth day of the 
assembly, a Constitution for the Provisional government of 
the seceded States was reported and unanimously adopted. 
Indeed, before leaving the convention of each State, the 
consideration of the subject of confederation with the other 
States had been under consideration by the delegates, and 
their opinions freely expressed. Under all the circum 
stances of his public life, Mr. Memminger was found to be 
ready for emergencies. He would assume no position, nor 
would he undertake an obligation of responsibility without 
due consideration, but never with that vacillating judgment 
of the weak, which is always considering and never acts 
with promptness or decision. His forecast, as with all great 
men, was not mere guess work, nor was it made under the 
impulse of an intuition, but it was the careful conclusion 
of a process of reasoning, that reached a logical effect from 
a knowledge of causes that were uniform and active in their 

o 

operations. Hence ho was always preparing for an emer 
gency, and was found ready to meet it, unless his plans 
were altered, or circumvented by the action of others, 
whose course he could not control. 

Anticipating the adoption of a constitution by the provis 
ional Congress, to which he had been elected a delegate, he 
freely exchanged opinions with regard to its provisions with 
those who for many years had been associated with him in 
the Legislature of his State, and whom he met in the con 
vention of his people, desiring, as he did, to secure the co 
operation and united sympathies of the States having a com 
mon cause with South Carolina. Among the few of these 
worthy men who have survived, and who yet in strength, and 
with the graces of a gentle manhood, wear the old man s 
crown of glory, is the Hon. Joseph D. Pope, of Columbia, 



304 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

South Carolina. It gives me pleasure to acknowledge the 
kindness of this excellent gentleman and distinguished jurist, 
whose detail of the incidents and of the acts of the Secession 
Convention of South Carolina have greatly entertained me. 

Mr. Pope informs me that in a candid debate in the State 
Convention, concerning the organization of the Confederate 
government, and as to the machinery with which it was to 
he run, the question under consideration being, should the 
Montgomery Convention refer the constitution adopted by it 
back to the people for ratification, and for the election of 
delegates under its provisions, or should the delegates at 
once proceed to organize among themselves, after adopting 
the constitution, a provisional Congress, elect a provisional 
President, and in this way create an initial or provisional 
government ? Mr. Pope informs me that Mr. Memminger, 
adopting his motion in this behalf, urged the organization of 
the provisional government, and carried it through the State 
Convention, as a matter of recommendation to the Mont 
gomery Convention, and also urged with success the adoption 
of this plan in the Convention at Montgomery. 

There is, and for some time has been, a tradition ascribing 
the authorship of the provisional Constitution of the Confed 
eracy to Mr. Memminger. I can find no records among the 
papers of Mr. Memminger that would justify me in claiming 
for him the authorship of this Constitution, and the records 
of this Congress have either been destroyed or are beyond 
my reach. It has been stated, however, in an editorial 
sketch of Mr. Memminger, I find in the Charleston Courier 
of March 8th, 1888, that as chairman of the special commit 
tee appointed to draft a constitution for the provisional gov 
ernment of the Confederacy, he submitted the same in his 
own handwriting. Just here I desire to make the record of 
a fact which has impressed me as I have examined the pri 
vate papers of Mr. Memminger, placed in my hands by his 



SOUTH CAROLINA SECEDES. 305 

executors. It is the modest manner in which he refers to 
himself, where reference is made at all. With the single 
exception of his answer to the unnecessary and vain attack 
made upon his administration of the Confederate Treasury 
by General Joseph E. Johnston, there is nowhere to be found 
among his papers a single claim to any act of merit, to any 
honor, or achievement. These have all been gathered by 
me in a diligent and patient search among the records of 
his State and of his country, where he wrote his name and 
his merit of manhood in deeds that will live with the ages of 
our civilization. 

In many respects the Constitution of the Confederacy was 
similar to that of the United States, differing especially in 
the use of such terms as would clearly express the confeder 
ated relations of sovereign and independent States. It is 
worthy of note that nowhere in this instrument do the words 
"Confederate States" or "Confederate States of America" 
occur. The association of the States under a provisional 
government was styled a "Confederacy," and the act of asso 
ciation a "Confederation between the States." 

In following the history of Mr. Memminger to this period, 
I have been dependent entirely upon the recollections of 
others, and upon the records of his acts, as these are pre 
served in the libraries of his State or are to be found among 
his private papers. It was not until I met him at Mont 
gomery in the month of February, 1861, that my official 
relations with him began. From that time until the provis 
ional government of the Confederacy expired by the limita 
tion fixed in the Constitution, and the permanent govern 
ment was inaugurated at Richmond, Virginia, I was honored 
with his confidence, and held the position of Chief Clerk in 
his department of the public service. I can, therefore, write 
of him from a personal knowledge which no one could have 
secured through a closer or pleasanter official connection. 

20 



306 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

Upon the assembly of the Confederate Congress, the city 
of Montgomery at once became a center of attraction for all 
who were in sympathy with the Secession movement, and 
thither came many visitors, young and old, ladies and gen 
tlemen, attracted by the stirring events of the times. As 
the capital city of one of the most prosperous of the cotton 
States, Montgomery -had long been the seat of elegance, and 
in the social caste of its citizens, reflected the noblest char 
acteristics of our peculiar Southern civilization. To these 
local expressions were now added the surroundings of a 
government established by the gentry of the South. Amid 
these surroundings the writer found himself on the day 
when the election of Mr. Jefferson Davis and Mr. Alexander 
H. Stephens, as President and Vice-President of the Provis 
ional Confederacy, was formally announced. The interval 
between the election of these distinguished men on the 9th 
of February, and their inauguration on the 18th of that 
month, was employed by the Congress in providing a reve 
nue system, the organization of an army and a navy, and in 
such other legislation as they were enabled to undertake by 
the provisions of their temporary establishment; while a 
joint committee, composed of members of the Confederate 
Congress, members of the Alabama Legislature and of the 
City Council were arranging the details of the inauguration, 
which was to be made as imposing as possible. 

Early on the morning of the 18th, the good people of Mont 
gomery were astir preparing for the ceremonies of the day, 
The weather could not have been more auspicious. Brightly 
the sun shone, while the soft, southwesterly winds, had 
brought out the first smiles of spring to gladden the many 
warm hearts that were waiting to greet the first President 
of the new-born government. The ringing noise of the ham 
mer had ceased, while busy fingers and the strong arms of 
noble women and gallant men had transformed the front of 



CONFEDERA G Y FORMED. 307 

the stately capitol building into a grand amphitheater, whose 
huge columns were wreathed with festoons of laurel and 
of magnolia, making a fit stage for the presentation of the 
first scene in this greatest ,drama of modern history. 

Notice that the inaugural ceremonies would take place on 
Monday, the 18th of February, had been sent by telegram, 
printed and posted everywhere throughout the country, 
North as well as South. As early as the Friday before the 
time fixed, the streets evidenced the growth of the crowd who, 
from adjoining States, far and near, had come to witness the 
natal day of this new government. 

Promptly at 10 o clock Col. II. P. Watson, of Montgomery, 
as chief marshal, appeared in front of the Exchange Hotel, 
accompanied by the following aids, appointed by the Con 
vention to represent the several States : Florida, Hamilton 
AVright ; Georgia, Daniel S. Printup ; South Carolina, Henry 
D.^ Capers ; Louisiana, Robert C. Wood ; Mississippi, Joseph 
P. Billups ; Texas, Preston H. Roberts. 

The procession was formed on Montgomery street, the 
right, or escort, being composed of the following military 
companies, under the command of Captain Semmes, of Co 
lumbus, Georgia : Columbus Guards, Lieutenant Ellis com 
manding ; Independent Rifles, Captain Farris ; Eufaula 
Rifles, Captain Alf. Baker ; German Fusileers, Captain 
Scheussler. 

Following the military came the special committees from 
the Convention of Delegates, the State Legislature, and the 
City Council, in open carriages ; the President-elect followed 
in an open carriage drawn by six beautiful gray horses. To 
the left of Mr. Davis sat the Vice-President, Mr. Stephens, 
and in his front Rev. Dr. Basil Manly, of Montgomery. 
Next came the .members of the Provisional Congress, Gov 
ernors of the several seceded States, and other distinguished 
citizens in carriages, folloAved by a division of civic societies, 
and many hundreds who had left their homes and varied 



308 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

business occupations to do honor to the occasion. The citi 
zens of Montgomery never before, and, in all probability, 
will never in the future, witness a more brilliant pageant ; 
certainly there cannot occur in the history of any American 
city an event so full of interest. 

Arrived at the Capitol, Mr. Davis ascended the steps of 
the portico with Mr. Cobb, followed alone by Mr. Stephens 
and the Rev. Dr. Manly. The spacious platform in their 
front was occupied by the Congressional delegates, and mem 
bers of the Alabama Convention, and other distinguished 
persons, while beyond these and on either side there were 
thousands eagerly securing every available spot to see and 
hear what was to take place. As the last gun from a section 
of artillery finished a salute, the ceremony of the inaugura 
tion was begun with an impressive prayer from the vener 
able Doctor Manly. Never can I forget the scene that at 
that moment presented itself, and while my mind retains its 
faculties, I will recall the pleading eloquence of the aged 
man as he invoked the blessing of God upon the President 
elect and upon the cause he was chosen to maintain. The 
great concourse of people seemed to have been similarly im 
pressed, and were awed into silence so complete that, seated 
on horseback near the outskirts of the assembly, I heard, 
with great distinctness, nearly every word of this most im 
pressive prayer. At its close, Mr. Cobb formally announced 
that the President-elect, Mr. Davis, had arrived, and was now 
ready to take the oath of office. Mr. Davis came forward 
amid a storm of applause. As soon as it was quieted, in a 
clear and measured tone of voice he gave a distinct utterance 
to his inaugural address. This address appears in full in 
some of the histories of that period. Its insertion here I do 
not deem necessary. At the close of his address, turning to 
Mr. Cobb, Mr. Davis declared his readiness to take the oath 
of office as President of the Confederacy, which was accord 
ingly administered by Mr. Cobb. 



CONFEDERA C Y FORMED. 309 

In uttering the words, " So help me God/ Mr. Davis, 
turning his eyes towards the heavens, in a most impressive 
manner repeated the words, " So help me God, in a tone of 
voice so loud and distinct that he could have been heard to 
the extreme outskirts of the immense assembly. 

Thus ended the ceremony of this historic occasion, one 
never to be forgotten by those who were present, and that 
must mark for all time to come an important era in modern 
history. At night there was a reception, followed by a bril 
liant ball at Estell Hall. Here the beauty and chivalry of 
the South, from Texas to Virginia, was assembled, and amid 
a wealth of flowers, emblematic decorations, and all that a 
cultivated taste could suggest or that wealth could furnish, 
the first hours of the Confederacy were ushered in. 

The next morning I was informed by Mr. Keitt, of South 
Carolina, that Mr. Memminger had been nominated by the 
President as Secretary of the Treasury, and that he desired 
to see me as soon as possible. . I found Mr. Memminger at 
his room in the Exchange Hotel. Without much ceremony 
he made known to me his appointment, and desired that I 
should serve him in the capacity of Private Secretary. The 
selection of myself for this responsible position, doubtless 
grew out of the long-established friendship existing between 
my father and the distinguished Carolinian, rather than 
from any experience I had acquired either as an accountant 
or a secretary. Requesting me to call upon Colonel Clan- 
ton, of Montgomery, for information as to the location of the 
building to be used for executive offices, he directed me to 
publish a notice in the morning papers stating where his 
office was to be found, and to remain there between the 
hours prescribed by him. With that earnest expression 
which all will remember who have seen Mr. Memminger 
when he was interested, he remarked: " The world must 
know at once that we are at work, and that we are in earn 
est." 



310 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

If the architect had anticipated the organization of a gov 
ernment at Montgomery on short notice, he could not have 
planned so small a building and have arranged its rooms more 
conveniently for the use of the several heads of departments. 
On the lower floor, with entrances from two streets, was a 
large banking office, with a vault attached, and rooms in the 
rear for executive offices. The keys to these apartments 
had been delivered to me by Colonel Clanton With them 
in my hand, I was at an early hour the next day to be found 
the sole occupant of one of these rooms, upon the door of 
which had been placed a card designating it as the office of 
the Secretary of the Treasury. Upon entering this room I 
found it without furniture of any kind; empty of all it had 
ever had in it of desks, table, chairs or other appliances for 
the conduct of business. Nothing met the surprised self- 
importance of the dignified youth but bare walls and a dusty 
floor, [Realizing that within one hour the time would arrive 
for the Secretary s office hours to begin, I started out in 
haste to find a furniture store. Fortunately this was close 
at hand, and just being opened for the day s traffic. Intro 
ducing myself to the gentleman I found in charge, who 
proved to be the energetic son of Mr. John Powell, I stated 
the emergency of my case to him, and in a few moments 
had the satisfaction of seeing him on his way to the Com 
mercial buildings with a neat walnut table, a small desk, and 
a set of office chairs. When nine o clock arrived I had swept 
out the dust and cob-webs of my predecessor s office, placed 
the furniture in position, and was receiving through an im 
provised office boy, the first invoice of stationery for the 
government, from Messrs. Pfister & White, excellent gentle 
men, whose book store, in the Exchange building, was known 
to me as a pleasant stopping place. Ten and eleven o clock 
had passed, and I was yet alone in iny glory. ^Pens and ink 
stands were in place. Legal cap paper presented unwritten 
pages, and still no one had called upon the Secretary, nor 



CONFEDERA C Y FORMED, 311 

had the Secretary called upon his clerk. I had re-adjusted 
everything time and again, gone to the door opening on 
Commerce street, read and re-read the announcement in the 
papers, instructed my green office boy a dozen or more times 
as to the proper mode of receiving a visitor at the front door, 
when, at last, a messenger arrived with a note from Mr. 
Memminger informing me that he would be detained with 
Congress during the day. Another visit to Mr. Powell re 
sulted in a neat matting for the floor, and other conveniences, 
which made the Secretary s office, by the next morning, 
quite comfortable. 

These details are given to illustrate the small beginnings 
of the Confederate government, and as they unfold them 
selves, the reader will see how great emergencies were met 
from the most limited resources. 

While thus remaining the sole occupant of the executive 
building, and passing the short interval between the organi 
zation of the cabinet and the avalanche of work which im 
mediately thereafter bore upon every resource of mind and 
body, in arranging the appointments of the department, I 
had the seclusion of my dignity disturbed by a visit, which, 
while it brought my energies into play, uncovered the then 
limited resources of the Confederate Treasury. 

I had just entered upon the routine duties of the morn 
ing, when a brisk, firm step in the hall, and a sharp, de 
cided rap at the door, evidenced the presence of some one 
on an earnest mission. To the provincial reply " Come 
in " which supplemented the absence of my office boy, 
there entered a tall, soldierly-looking person, whose whole 
bearing indicated one accustomed to command. This per 
son at once inquired for the office of Secretary of the Treas 
ury. When informed that he was then in the place ap 
pointed as such, he scanned the room in a half skeptical 
manner and informed me with some emphasis that he de 
sired to see the Secretary at once and on very urgent busi-- 



312 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

ness. I elated to my visitor that Mr. Memminger was en 
gaged at the Capitol, with Congress, and that he would not 
be at the office during the morning. To the further sug 
gestion that I might possibly serve him, as the Secretary s 
representative, he at once unfolded his mission. " I am 
Captain Deas, sir, late of the United States army," was the 
formal announcement of himself. Handing me a note he 
proceeded about in this manner: " I have been instructed, 
sir, by the President, whose letter of introduction to the 
Secretary I have handed to you, to provide blankets and 
rations for one hundred men, who have reported to him for 
duty in the army. I want the money, sir, to carry out the 
instructions of the President." 

Returning the President s note to Captain Deas, " late of 
the United States army," I assured him that nothing could 
give me more pleasure than to comply with the President s 
request; " but, Captain," said I, drawing a lean purse from 
my pocket and opening it, " I have been on a considerable 
frolic in Montgomery for the past two weeks, and my finan 
ces at this moment are somewhat demoralized." Ascertain 
ing that I had a sum amounting to not more than five or 
ten dollars, I continued: "This, Captain, is all the money 
that I w r ill certify as being in the Confederate Treasury at 
this moment." 

At first the dignified Captain appeared provoked at my 
humor, which to him may have appeared impudence, but 
when informed that I was with but two days experience in 
a department service that began its operations with my 
presence, his frowning brow relaxed, and he seemed to ap 
preciate my position and to enjoy the joke. Something had 
to be done, however, to meet this first requisition on the 
Treasury, as the gallant Captain was determined to execute 
his order. We w^ere soon at the Capitol to interview Mr. 
Memminger. Congress was in secret session, but I was en 
abled to communicate with my chief, who gave me a note of 



CONFEDERA C Y FORMED. 313 

introduction to Mr. Knox, president of the Central Bank of 
Alabama, that enabled me to open a credit for the Confed 
erate Treasury, based upon the personal obligation of the 
Secretary. The relief of Captain Deas was as much a mat 
ter of pleasure to me as it could possibly have been to him. 
We parted with each other at the bank with the understand 
ing that he would make the purchases and send the bills to 
me for payment. In the evening I visited the troops, in 
whose behalf this first exercise of executive authority had 
been made, and ascertained them to be a company of one 
hundred men from Georgia, who had tendered their ser 
vices to President Davis. They were under the command of 
an officer selected from among their number, who bore the 
historic name of George Washington Lee. Captain Lee was 
fromDeKalb county, Georgia, and his company was the first 
body of troops who had enlisted to maintain the cause of the 
Confederacy. 

Within a week from the date of his appointment as Secre 
tary of the Treasury, the legislation necessary to establish a 
credit for the Confederacy had been completed, and Mr. 
Memminger, with the earnest devotion which had charac 
terized his history in private and in public life, was a Cabi 
net officer, executing the provisions of the enactments of the 
Provisional Congress. If, from the necessity growing out 
of the incomplete character of this legislation, I had found, 
for the first day or two of my official life, but little to do, 
there were no moments of leisure when the Secretary trans 
ferred his energies and business experience from the delib 
erations of Congress to the executive branch of the govern 
ment over which he had been selected to preside. 

It is recorded, by one of his biographers, that the great 
Bonaparte possessed such a wonderful vitality, and was so 
minute in his elaborate details of office work, that he would 
exhaust the physical powers of more than one secretary 
when formulating the plans and arranging the methods of 



314 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

his military and civil administration. I know of at least 
one secretary who would often leave the office of the Secre 
tary of the Confederate Treasury after midnight, utterly 
worn out with labors that had begun in the early morning, 
and who would leave his weariless chief absorbed in some 
one of the many problems incident to his most important 
office. 

To organize a Department of Finance for a government 
formed amid revolutionary surroundings, that would con 
stantly derange normal conditions of political economy and 
disturb the established basis of credits ; to meet promptly 
the financial demands of such a government, growing as 
these were, day after day, into colossals proportions, required 
not only the machinery of organization, but the utmost 
skill ; the resource of the best judgment, and a sagacity 
which could anticipate events yet to occur. 

To meet all the emergencies of the government, the Pro 
visional Congress had provided a loan of fifteen millions of 
dollars. To the work of preparing and of securing the 
representatives of this credit and negotiating loans, trie 
Secretary of the Treasury had his attention drawn immedi 
ately upon assuming the duties of his office. 

It will appear strange to one who follows the history of 
subsequent events, that the Congress should not have anti 
cipated the gigantic w^ar in which the cradle of the Confed 
eracy was not only rocked, but which was in the end to ex 
haust its powers. The reason for this is to be found in the 
declaration of right upon which the secession movement 
was based. Granting the right, secession was believed by 
some to be a peaceable remedy for the wrongs which the 
Southern States had so long endured. It never entered 
into the minds of the very large majority of the Southern 
Democrats, and was only entertained by a minority of the 
North, called "National Democrats," that the States had 
not the right to resume their sovereignty at pleasure. Even 



CONFEDERA C Y FORMED. 315 

among -those at the North who held contrary views, there 
was a prevailing opinion that the Federal government, or 
more properly the Federal party, would not attempt to co 
erce the seceded States by a resort to arms. 

While the " National Democrats," at the North, were mani 
festing their opposition to coercive measures on the part 
of the Federal government, there was also a very respecta 
ble minority among the Whigs and the Eepublicans in that 
section who had declared against the policy, if, indeed, they 
had previously advocated the right of coercion. Mr. Sew- 
ard, in addressing the Senate of the United States, January 
12th, of this year, declared his principles to be the " Union 
before Republicanism." He urged not only the repeal of 
the personal liberty bill, and the enforcement of the fugi 
tive slave law, but urged the Federal government to prevent 
the invasion of one State by the people of another. The 
bitter mariner in which this conservative address of the 
New York Senator was denounced by the radical wing of 
the Federal party clearly evidenced that it was not the great 
constitutional question involved in the act of secession, but 
just such a fanatical zeal as John Brown had shown in his 
pretended opposition to the institution of slavery, that was 
forcing the Federal authorities to over-ride the Constitution. 
The position taken and earnestly maintained in the New 
York Tribune by Mr. Greeley, was in direct opposition to the 
spirit of the majority of his party. While he considered 
the secession of the Southern States an error, he emphati 
cally urged that the " erring sisters be allowed to go in 
peace." In accord with the expression of the leading Re 
publican journal of the North, the New York News pub 
lished at the time the names of seventy newspapers, re 
ceived as exchanges from the different Northern States, op 
posing all coercive measures on the part of the government 
as being both unconstitutional and impolitic. Even Mr. 
Lincoln, the President-elect of the Radical Republicans, in 



316 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGEK. 

Ms Springfield, Illinois, speech, delivered in January, 1861, 
did not, in more than equivocal terms, indicate a conviction 
that the Federal government had, or would exercise, the 
right of forcing a State into submission to the will of his 
party. He ended this meaningless address by frankly 
admitting that he had asserted nothing, and had asked a 
few questions very difficult to answer. 

Thus it was that from the assembly of the Provisional Con 
federate Congress, on the fifth of February, until the deliv 
ery at Washington city of the inaugural message of President 
Lincoln, on the fourth of March, there was nothing to indi 
cate a clearly-defined policy on the part of the Federal gov 
ernment or of the political party that had accidentally come 
into the possession of its machinery. For these reasons, 
taken in connection with the further fact already mentioned, 
that the seceded States were exercising a right of sovereignty 
asserted and maintained in the highest courts of adjudication 
known to our government from the foundation of the Union 
of States, the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States 
made no further provision for the exigencies of the revolu 
tion than was necessary to maintain the government on the 
basis of a peace establishment. 

As soon as the act providing for the loan had become a 
law, Mr. Memminger began the work of preparing the rep 
resentatives of our Confederate credit. So exclusively agri 
cultural had been and were the pursuits of the people of the 
South, and so long accustomed to depend upon the Northern 
manufacturers, and upon the resources of European nations, 
that at the very outset of his labors the Confederate Secre 
tary found serious difficulty in providing the coupon bonds, 
certificates and treasury notes which were to represent the 
financial resources of his government. In none of the 
Southern cities could engravers on steel or stone be found. 
Under these circumstances resort was had to the facilities 
offered through the active co-operation of Mr. G. B. Lamar, 



CON FED ERA C Y FORMED. 317 

president of the Bank of the Republic, in New York city. 
Acting as our agent, Mr. La-mar entered into a contract with 
the American Bank-Note Company for engraving and print 
ing the bonds and treasury notes authorized by act of Con 
gress. The work was handsomely executed on the best of 
bank-note and bond paper, but, with all the precaution taken 
by Mr. Lamar, the entire issue fell into the hands of the vigi 
lant servants of the Federal government and was seized as 
being contraband of war. Hence we were driven to the ex 
pedient of importing engravers from abroad, and were com 
pelled to resort to the use of such appliances and machinery 
as could be improvised at home. 

The few paper-mills in the South were manufacturing 
only an ordinary grade of newspaper or the common wrap 
ping paper used in the shops. For some time we had to 
rely upon the bank-note paper that could be obtained through 
partially closed ports, or that was brought across the frontier 
of the Confederacy by our trusted agents. The enterprise 
and skill of Messrs. Evans, Cogswell & Co., of Charleston, 
S. C., supplied the coupon bonds, but the difficulty of en 
graving and printing the treasury notes was not solved until 
after the removal of the Executive departments of the gov 
ernment to Richmond, Ya., in the summer of 1861. Here 
Messrs. Hoyer & Ludwig, skilled engravers, were established 
by the Secretary of the Treasury, and under the supervision 
of an officer, specially appointed for the purpose, the first 
treasury notes were engraved upon old and inferior stones 
used formerly for common placards, and printed upon paper 
brought from Baltimore by agents employed in the special 
service cff the Treasury Department. There was a paper- 
mill at Richmond, but heretofore it had been manufacturing 
no better grade than the ordinary newspaper used by the 
local press and printers. It became obvious to Mr. Mem- 
minger, at an early day in his administration, that this want 
of facilities for producing the material upon which to express 



318 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

the evidences of credit authorized by acts of Congress would 
have to be supplied either by the Confederate government 
or by individual enterprise. Without delay he called to his 
aid Mr. Montague, president of the Richmond paper-mills, 
and at once began, with his active co-operation, arrange 
ments for the manufacture of linen and the best quality of 
bank-note paper possible under the circumstances. In his 
report to Congress, March 14, 1862, Mr. Memminger thus 
refers to these difficulties : " At this stage of our progress 
we were brought to a stand by the difficulty of preparing 
treasury notes in the Confederate States. We had become 
so entirely dependent upon the North that but a single bank 
note engraver could be found in the Confederate States, and 
none of the material necessary for a bank-note was manu 
factured amongst us. AVe were, therefore, compelled to sub 
stitute lithographs for steel engravings, and to create the 
manufacture of bank-note paper. The delays incident to 
such a state of things produced many difficulties, and ren 
dered it impossible to furnish an amount in notes adequate 
to meet the daily requisitions of the departments. The banks 
were applied to for a loan of their notes to meet the exigency. 
They promptly responded, and the balance due them is set 
forth in one of the schedules accompanying this report." l 

This statement will also explain why the Confederate 
treasury notes were at first so objectionable in appearance. 
Until the Richmond mills had secured the necessary ma 
chinery and stock for the manufacture of bank-note paper 
our supply was obtained entirely from Northern cities, 
through friends in Maryland, whose expedients to secure the 
safe delivery at Richmond of the much-needed paper have 
furnished to me a story abounding in ingenious device and 
thrilling adventure. 

In perfecting the organization of the several divisions and 
sub-divisions of the Treasury Department, the system devised 

J See Appendix for Reports. 




1. ALEXANDER ] ,. CLITHERALL, Resist* 
3. EDWARD (J. ELMORE, Treasurer. 



2. HOLLINd RAKER, Auditor. 
I. Treasury Department, ( . S. A. 



CONFEDERACY FORMED. 319 

by Alexander Hamilton, and still in use at Washington 
city, was with some modifications adopted by Mr. Memmin- 
ger. At the commencement of his administration the Sec 
retary was fortunate in securing the valuable services of a 
number of gentlemen, whose sympathies with the cause of 
the Confederacy prompted them to resign prominent posi 
tions in the United States Treasury Department and to ten 
der their services to the Confederate government. Mr. 
Philip Clayton, who had been assistant secretary under Mr. 
Ho well Cobb, at Washington, was appointed Assistant Sec 
retary of the Confederate Treasury. Having a knowledge 
of the forms, and of the general working of the system at 
Washington, he rendered valuable services in the organiza^ 
tion of our department. Accompanying Mr. Clayton to 
Montgomery from Washington, was Mr. Charles T. Jones, 
who for years had served in the United States Treasury, and 
who possessed an accurate knowledge of the business formu 
las. He brought with him copies of all of the forms in use 
in all of the several bureaus. To the willing spirit and in 
defatigable labors of Mr. Jones we were more indebted than 
to any single individual for the rapid and perfect organiza 
tion of the department in all of its details. Mr. Jones was 
a native of Indiana, a gentleman of many excellent social 
virtues, and as a careful and systematic business man, su 
perior to any I have ever known. On the 10th of March, 
less than one month after the appointment of the Secre 
tary to office, the Treasury Department of the Confede 
racy was thoroughly organized, with the following officers on 
duty: 

Executive Office C. G. Memminger, Secretary; Philip 
Clayton, of Georgia, Assistant Secretary; PI. D. Capers, Chief 
Clerk and Disbursing Officer; J. A. Crawford, Warrant 
Clerk; Henry Spamick, Edmund Randolph, H. Kermer- 
worth, J. II. Nash, J. P. Stevens, J. W. Anderson, Thompson 
Allan, Clerks, 



320 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

Comptroller Lewis Cruger; John Ott, Chief Clerk. 

First Auditor Boiling Baker; W. W. Lester, Chief Clerk; 
J. W. Robertson, M. F. Govan, J. F. Ezell, Clerks. 

Second Auditor W. H. S. Taylor; J. C. Ball, Chief Clerk. 

Register A. B. Clitherall; Chas. T. Jones, Chief Clerk; J. 
C. Thayer, James Simons. 

Treasurer Ed. C. Elmore; T. T. Green, Chief Clerk; 
Thomas Taylor, Cashier. 

I regret that I have not the memoranda with which to re 
fresh my recollection of the names of all the clerks who were 
at this date assisting in the several bureaus of the depart 
ment. I have given above only such names as I am enabled 
to recall from memory after a lapse of many years. Excel 
lent gentlemen and superior business men were among 
others whose names have been lost among the multitude I 
have since met with in the varied associations of the past 
years. 

The terms under which the clerks and employes held their 
offices in the Executive departments of the Confederate gov 
ernment were such as to secure the best of service from com 
petent persons, and to inspire a sense of personal self-respect 
by investing the employe with such security in his tenure as 
would naturally provoke fidelity in the discharge of his duty, 
while at the same time the government had the benefit of 
his efficiency. Cabinet officers were, of course, appointed by 
the President, who held their offices for six years, but all other 
executive and judicial appointments were for life, or during 
good behavior. 

An officer, once appointed, could not be removed unless it 
was shown that he was intellectually incompetent, negligent 
in the discharge of his duties, or dishonest, or unless the office 
held by him had been abolished by the authority creating it. 

In the service of the several departments of the govern 
ment, each Secretary was the judge of the number of clerks 
ne9essary to perform promptly and efficiently the work of 



CONFEDERA C Y FORMED. 321 

the several divisions and sub-divisions of his department, 
and was expected to make such rules and such appointments 
to office as in his judgment the exigencies of the public ser 
vice required. 

While the assistant secretaries and chief bureau officers 
were confirmed in their appointments to office by the Senate 
on the recommendation of the President, they were by no 
means independent of the executive head of the department 
to which they belonged, and could be removed from office 
for cause or suspended at his pleasure by the consent of the 
President. 

Mr. Memminger very wisely allowed the several chiefs of 
the divisions into which his department was divided to nomi 
nate the clerks for appointment who they desired to serve un 
der their supervision to him. Upon this nomination being 
made and approved by the Secretary, the clerk received a 
temporary commission in these words 

SIR, You are hereby appointed a clerk of the class in the 

Treasury department of the Confederate States on trial for the period of 

six months, and are assigned to duty with , to whom you will at 

once report. At the expiration of the time prescribed herein, if a favor 
able report is made on your character and efficiency, you will receive a 
permanent commission should the exigencies of the public services ren 
der it necessary to employ you." 

The very correct opinion of the Secretary was that, as the 
bureau officers were held responsible for the proper discharge 
of the work in their several branches of the public service, 
and in several instances were under bond in large sums, that 
they should be allowed to select largely their own assistants. 
The probation prescribed would be sufficient to develop the 
fitness of the appointment and to give sufficient time in 
which to investigate the antecedent history of the clerk. 

The worthy Secretary had spent his active life as a com 
mercial lawyer, among the best business men of a seaport 
city, famous for its orthodox methods in America anddn 



322 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

Europe, and viewed the whole matter of appointments to 
office strictly from a business standpoint. 

The gentlemen who had entered the Department of the 
Treasury from Washington were evidently much surprised 
at the surveillance under w r hich they were kept, and were 
frequently comparing the lax methods of a clerk s life in 
that Capitol City with what some of them were pleased to 
call the banking-house service of Mr. Memminger. If there 
was a sinecure s place in his department, the Secretary of 
the Treasury was not aware of its existence. 

It was my honor (and I use the word here to express its 
fullest import) to have had the confidence of Mr. Memmin 
ger. I understood then, and from him, the reason why he 
sought from the first to place his department under the reg 
ulation discipline, which, with a few exceptions, appeared to 
excite the disgust of those who had resigned clerkships in 
the department at Washington to accept the service of 
patriotism in Montgomery. It was as far from the mind of 
Mr. Memminger as it was in antagonism with his social 
spirit to play the role of a martinet or to be a tyrant. Of 
all public functionaries I have ever known, he was the most 
scrupulously conscientious. He believed that an officer of 
the government, who received pay for his services, should 
render a quid pro quo for the same just as completely and 
for the reason, in all honesty, that the same would be de 
manded in any properly conducted business establishment. 

Hence, he fixed regular business hours, from 9 o clock 
A. M. to 3 P. M., and if the exigencies of the public service 
required it, the working force was ordered back to their 
desks in the evening, to remain there until the pressing 
business was finished. As an example to his subalterns, the 
Secretary was the most punctual and devoted among all of 
the officials. Unless he was called to a Cabinet meeting or 
was engaged in the Senate, where, upon all questions affect 
ing the financial interests of the government he had a voice, 



CONFEDERA C Y FORMED, 323 

you could find him with certainty at his office, where he was 
generally among the first to arrive and last to leave. 

The reader ne.ed not infer that we were exempt from the 
annoyances, if you please to call them such, incident to the 
life of all officials who have the appointing power vested in 
them, but there was not in those days the immodest pressure 
brought to bear which, we are informed, is the most dis 
agreeable feature of the public service at Washington city 
and elsewhere in the country. 

At an early day I was required by the Secretary to ad 
dress the following circular letter, enclosing a copy of rules, 
to the several bureau officers of the department. These 
rules were ever afterwards rigidly adhered to, as embodying 
the general regulations of the service in his department: 

SIR, I am directed by the Secretary of the Treasury to call your at 
tention to the accompanying rules respecting the general service and 
the appointment of clerks in your bureau. The necessity for the prompt 
dispatch of the public business, and the Secretary s desire to have none 
but worthy and efficient employes in the department, require that these 
regulations be strictly enforced. 

Respectfully, H. D. CAPERS, Chief Clerk. 

REGULATIONS. 

First. Persons desiring appointment to office in the Treasury Depart 
ment must present to the Secretary, through his Chief Clerk, their ap 
plications written in their own handwriting, stating their names, place 
of nativity, their present place of residence and past business experi 
ence. This must be accompanied with such references as they are en 
abled to give. The endorsements of well-known business men in the 
community in which the applicant resides are preferred to any others. 

Second. The Secretary requires that a report shall be made to him on 
the first day of every month, setting forth the number of clerks on duty 
at that date, their particular assignment to duty and their efficiency ; 
also, the additional number of clerks necessary to meet the require 
ments of the service in each division of your bureau, with the character 
of the work they are expected to perform. You will accompany this 
report with the nominations of such persons as may have had their ap 
plications referred to you from this office, or such other persons as you 
are led to believe are better qualified to perform the duties required 
than those who have formerly applied. Upon the receipt of your report 



324 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. 

temporary commissions for six months will be issued to those you may 
nominate for appointment. At the expiration of this time, if it should 
be discovered that they are in all respects qualified as competent busi 
ness men for the position of clerks in this department, permanent com 
missions will be issued over the signature and seal of the Secretary. 

iThird. In assigning clerks to duty you will keep in mind that promo 
tions are to be made alone from among those who, by fidelity and effi 
ciency in the discharge of duty, have fairly won the right to distinction. 
This is the only rule by which you will be governed in the promotion of 
clerks in your bureau from one class to another. 

Fourth. Your attention is called to the necessity of observing the 
business hours as fixed by the Secretary viz. : From 9 o clock A. M. to 3 
p. M. If the exigencies of the public service, in your judgment, should 
require it, you will, at your discretion, order the clerks on duty in your 
bureau back to their business places in the evening, to remain until the 
business of the day has been fully brought up. This is especially neces 
sary in the bureaus of the Auditors and the Comptroller. While no im 
proper haste is to be allowed, yet there must be no unnecessary delay 
in advancing the business of the department. 

Fifth. All loitering on the part of the clerks, employes or visitors 
about the offices of the department is strictly forbidden during office 
hours. The offices of this department are considered as much places of 
business as the counting-rooms of merchants or bankers, and are not 
the places in which to entertain guests. The janitors and messengers 
will extend all proper courtesies to visitors, but this will in no wise ex 
tend beyond the civilities of a business establishment. Clerks or em 
ployes desiring leave of absence must apply in writing for the same to 
the head of the bureau in which they are serving, stating the time for 
which this absence is desired. If the application is approved, a copy of 
the leave of absence must be filed with the Chief Clerk of the bureau 
before the person leaves, who will at once forward the copy to this 
office. 

Sixth. The pay-rolls of the several bureaus in this department must 
be approved by the Chief Clerk and filed with the Disbursing officer of 
the department on the 25th day of each month for inspection. All 
requisitions for office furniture, stationery, etc., must be made in the 
form prescribed, and certified to as required, by the chief of the bureau 
in which the same is to be used, and filed with the Disbursing officer of 
the department for consideration. While ail the necessary conveniences 
for office work will be allowed, no extravagance will be permitted. 

Seventh. Officers, clerks, or employes in the departments are strictly 
forbidden to correspond with newspapers or to furnish any information 
or abstract from the files or the records without special permission from 
the Secretary in writing. Any violation of these rules will subject the 
offender to prompt suspension or discharge. 



CONFEDERA C Y FORMED. 325 

An inflexible adherence to these rules and the prompt 
enforcement of the prescribed penalties, secured, in connec 
tion with the willing spirit of excellent officers, the most 
efficient service. It is likewise true that their enforcement 
subjected Mr. Memminger to the harsh and unmerited criti 
cism of a class of politicians who were not disposed to con 
sider an official as a public servant, on duty under a public 
trust, and who had for some reason, best known to those 
who had held office in Washington city, been disposed to 
regard appointments to office as an immunity from labor ; 
that the treasury was a kind of public . depository to be 
drawn on as a right of political partisanship under the guise 
of compensation for services rendered, and which, if ren 
dered at all, are generally so at a cost to the government far 
in excess of the salaries paid at well regulated banking 
establishments. Mr. Memminger, very probably, took a 
strict business view of the matter, and was in the Treasury 
Department enforcing only such regulations as a business 
man would expect to see enforced among the representative 
commercial men of the country. There were not the diffi 
culties in his way incident to the existence of rival political 
parties. Even if there had been, his high sense of duty 
and conscientious regard for the obligations he had as 
sumed would have readily indicated this course to the Sec 
retary 

Among the few who did not hesitate in my presence to 
express, in unmeasured terms, their dissatisfaction with 
the rules of the Secretary, and especially with the rigid 
manner in which they were enforced, was the Assistant Sec 
retary, Mr. Philip Clayton. Accustomed to the easy meth 
ods of the department service in Washington city, and as 
an Assistant Secretary there, to use his convenience in meet 
ing the wishes of an indulgent Secretary, whose training 
had been with politicians or on the judicial circuits of 
Georgia, Mr. Clayton soon began to manifest opposition to 



326 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

"restraints" and "exactions," as he termed them, of the 
Carolina Secretary, not alone in his remarks to the Chief 
Clerk, hut in a form of inuendo addressed to third persons 
in my hearing, the evident intention being that these re 
marks should reach the Secretary through his confidential 
clerk. I do not attribute Mr. Clayton s objection to the 
discipline of Secretary Memminger to an indisposition on 
his part to discharge the duties of his office, but to an ultra 
democratic spirit which rebelled against all impositions of 
restraint. He was social in his nature and very fond of 
company, and never happier than when with congenial as 
sociates, he was discussing the philosophy of politics or 
religion, or some one of the abstract sciences. It would 
happen at times that some one or more of his friends would 
call upon the Assistant Secretary during office hours. To 
remind them that a social visit at that time, and at a busi 
ness office, was contrary to the rules of the department was 
to admit that he was under the subordination of a law he 
had no authority to suspend at his pleasure. Hence, he 
was brought, through his real good nature, into a position 
which ultimately provoked a reprimand and alienated the 
official confidence of his chief. No one could have regret 
ted this unhappy result more than myself. Mr. Clayton 
possessed rare intellectual endowments, to which, if there 
had been added more of nervous energy and the systematic 
habits of a business man, the Confederate Treasury Depart 
ment would have had in him an invaluable officer. His 
wonderful mathematical intuition, by which, at apparently 
a glance, he could make almost any desired combination in 
figures, was really phenomenal. He has been known, for 
example, in reviewing an Auditor s report, embracing five 
and six columns of figures, to add the whole, page by page, 
by taking the columns of figures together, and to announce 
the result before an expert accountant could determine the 



CONFEDERACY FORMED. 327 

aggregate of a single column. His accuracy in figures be 
came so well established that no one for a moment, would 
question the result with the endorsement of his signature 
to the statement. It may be readily inferred that the want 
of sympathy between the Secretary and his assistant would, 
if permitted to continue, become a source of annoyance to 
the Secretary and derange also the work of the department. 
There was no attention paid at first to the disaffection of 
Mr. Clayton by the Secretary, who expressed to me the hope 
that his assistant would yield his peculiar whims and meth 
ods when he, in common with others, was served with a 
copy of the department regulations. In this the Secretary 
was disappointed. It was not until about this time that the 
Secretary ignored the presence of his assistant, and would 
refer directly to me business matters of a confidential char 
acter which should have been properly entrusted to Mr. 
Clayton. 

At length there was an open rupture. Mr. Clayton s 
.friends were not strong enough in their influence, with 
either the President or Congress, to maintain the Assistant 
Secretary in his position. He resigned his office on the de 
mand of the inflexible Secretary, and shortly thereafter 
issued a publication in which he made an attack upon the 
administration of the Secretary, which savored more of the 
spirit of insubordination than of either patriotism or self- 
control. 

An examination of the regulations found above, will fail 
to convince anyone at all accustomed to the systematic order 
of business affairs, that there was a single exaction made 
which would compromise in the least particular the personal 
dignity of an official, or that would place a restraint upon 
the employe not demanded by the best interests of the pub 
lic service. The opposition to the enforcement of these regu 
lations was, in my opinion, not from a disposition on the 



328 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

part of any official to avoid the performance of duty, but 
simply from the fact that the habits of the objector, formed 
among the associations of a people who, from their infancy, 
were accustomed to freedom from all restraint, were such 
that he rebelled at the very suggestion of a master, how 
ever appointed. This peculiarity of our people was notice 
able, not only in the civil service, but in the volunteer mili 
tary organizations of the Confederacy. 

To command was so much a habit that it became the 
nature of our people, and it was most repugnant of all 
things to this nature to be commanded. Obedience to law 
as an abstract virtue, might have been, and was, frequently 
eulogized by those spirits who were ready to defy the constitu 
ted authority of the law at the least provocation. Hence, the 
Confederate army was once styled by a foreign officer, serv 
ing with General Stuart s cavalry, " a grand assembly of 
officers." 

Once having announced his regulations to the subordi 
nates of his department, Mr. Memminger not only con 
formed his official life to them but was inflexible in their 
enforcement. No political or social influence could save a 
negligent or recalcitrant official. This was made manifest, 
and with emphasis, in the case of a gentleman from Vir 
ginia, who held a clerkship in the Secretary s office. Shortly 
after the announcement of the Secretary s rules this gentle 
man gave expression to his criticism in a communication to 
a Richmond newspaper, in which he very imprudently, but, 
as I believe, not willfully, made public certain business 
transactions of the department. As soon as the name of 
the offending clerk was ascertained he was at once notified 
that his services were no longer required. In vain did re 
pentant requests and the appeals of influential friends reach 
the Secretary or importune the intervention of the Presi 
dent. 



C OXFEDERA C Y FORMED. 329 

It is by no means a necessary inference, that in the rou 
tine of our official duties we were denied the pleasures of 
such social interchange as always must serve to make the 
spice of what might otherwise become an insipid and prosy 
life. On the contrary, there were times when our -social 
contact brought out the finest expressions of wit and a fund 
of good humor which I often recall with the greatest pleas 
ure. It seldom ever occurs that so large a number of men, 
having the accomplishments of thorough classical educa 
tions, and natural gifts far above the average, are drawn to 
gether in the discharge of duties that w^ould appear to the 
uninformed prosaic and mechanical. 

It will be readily perceived by the reader who has thus far 
followed me that as the Confederate government crystalized 
I was of necessity brought in contact with, the Cabinet offi 
cers, and those placed in charge of the several subordinate 
divisions of the departments, in such a manner as to have a 
knowledge of each, whose wants, to a certain extent, it w r as 
my duty and my pleasure to meet. The Treasury Depart 
ment was organized and some of its branches actively at 
work before all of the members of the Cabinet were appointed 
and installed. Mr. Memminger, with his characteristic 
urbanity, extended through his executive officer such cour 
tesies as the circumstances investing these would readily 
suggest. It w r as in this way that I had the pleasure of meet 
ing with these distinguished gentlemen, who were to direct 
the several departments of the government. 

When it is remembered that their offices w r ere at the out 
set in the same building, and that this structure was of such 
ordinary dimensions as its original commercial character 
would indicate, the reader can understand that there were 
in this formative period of administration but few barriers, 
other than a sense of propriety would suggest, surrounding 
the official dignity of the several executive offices. The dia- 



330 



LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGEU. 



gram below will illustrate the arrangement of the offices on 
the second floor of the executive building and exhibits their 
proximity: 



MARKET STREET. 



1 


2 


3 


4 




5 

6 

I 

7 


COMMERCE STREET. 


OPEN COURT. 


7V 2 


12 


11 


10 


9 


8 



1. Chief Clerk State Department. 

2. Secretary of State. 

3. President s Office. 

4. Private Secretary of President. 

5. Secretary of Treasury. 

6. Assistant Secretary of Treasury. 

7. Chief Clerk Treasury. 



7%. Commerce Street Entrance. 

8. Register of Treasury. 

9. Secretary of War. 
10. Adjutant-General and Chief Clerk. 
11. Attorney-General. 
12. Secretary of Navy. 



On the 26th of May, 1861, in obedience to an act of the 
Provisional Congress providing for the removal of the seat 
of government from Montgomery, Ala., to Richmond, Va., 
orders were issued for a suspension of work in the several 
departments and every one put to packing up records, office 
furniture, etcetera, and away to " the Mother of States and 
Statesmen " we sped our way as fast as the special rail 
way trains could take us. The preamble to the act of Con 
gress changing the seat of government, stated that "the 
exigencies of the public service " rendered this move neces 
sary in the judgment of Congress. This may have been the 



CONFEDERA C Y FORMED. 331 

case, and possibly it was a necessity in the opinion of a ma 
jority of our statesmen, but it was only so with a majority. 
There was a respectable minority in Congress who thought 
that his experiences eminently qualified the President to 
assume command of the armies of the Confederate States in 
person, and desired that he should do so, making Richmond 
his headquarters, while the capital of the Confederacy should 
remain permanently at Montgomery, with Vice-President 
Stephens in charge of the government. 

The secession of Virginia at once made her territory the 
battle-field of a struggle which was no longer problematic, 
either as to its spirit or magnitude. To support the gallant 
people who recognized their allegiance to the State superior 
to that of a conditional fealty they had in no ambiguous 
terms expressed when they entered the federal compact of 
association; to meet the armies being organized rapidly to 
invade the territory of the mother of sovereign States who, 
in the deliberate act of secession, stood with drawn sword 
and " shield before her heart to fight with heart more proof 
than shield;" in the defense of the great principles upon 
which, with her children, she had acted, was the leading, the 
paramount and sufficient reason for this change of the seat 
of government. There were regrets sincerely felt and warmly 
expressed by the officers of the government at leaving the 
beautiful city where a characteristic hospitality had been so 
generously and elegantly dispensed. 

Montgomery had, from the early history of the place, been 
the home of culture and a true type of Southern social life. 
Surrounded for many miles by the fruitful fields of cotton 
planters, it drew from this source an immensely valuable 
commerce, and had become at the outbreak of the revolution 
one of the wealthiest cities of its population in the United 
States. Its leading citizens, those who gave tone to its so 
ciety, in elevating the sentiment that inspired all public and 
private social expressions, were gentlemen and ladies who, 



332 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

in the educational associations of their early lifo in Virginia 
or Carolina, had inculcated the noble virtues of the old Cav 
alier and Huguenot stock to whom we of the South owe all 
that we have ever had that was distinctive, in either moral 
or physical graces. No place in all of Dixie could have been 
selected as a capital for the Confederacy that was more 
thoroughly typical, more perfectly representative of the 
genius of our civilization. The social amenities of the good 
people had captured especially the large number of gentle 
men who came into our service from the army and the 
navy of the United States, and those who, in department 
service at Washington city, had found the social temperature 
much lower among the snow-drifts of a more northern lati 
tude. Among these there was certainly a murmur of dis 
satisfaction at the order taking them from Montgomery. 

At Richmond superior facilities were found for the con 
duct of the business of the several departments of the gov 
ernment. But a short time had elapsed since the United 
States government had completed a very handsome and 
commodious fire-proof building, used as a custom-house and 
post-office. The vaults and offices of the first floor of this 
building were appropriated by the Secretary of the Treas 
ury, while the President and Secretary of State found elegant 
and convenient offices in the story above. The War and 
Navy Departments were located in a capacious building on 
Ninth street near by, while Postmaster-General Reagan was 
established in very comfortable quarters at the corner of 
Bank and Twelfth streets. 

When Virginia withdrew from the Federal Union, Rich 
mond was not only the capital of a great State, but for years 
had been a metropolis whose traffic extended through all 
the great avenues of commerce. . The leading tobacco mar 
ket in America, it was also conducting a very large export 
business in flour and grain, while its foundries, many work 
shops and factories made it among the prominent manufac- 



FINANCIAL POLICY. 333 

turing cities of the Atlantic seaboard. At the wharves could 
have been seen the flags of all nationalities floating from the 
masts of vessels whose tonnage ranged from the famous 
clipper and ocean steamship to the schooner and sloop of 
the inland and coast trade. Main and Gary streets, from the 
"Rocketts" to the famous basin of the James river canal, a 
distance of at least one mile, was a busy scene from morn to 
night of all that makes the active life of the merchant or the 
manufacturer. As distinct from all this as the picturesque 
falls of the James river from the bay to whose bosom it car 
ried the treasures of hill and dale, was all that part of the 
city about the beautiful park that surrounded the Grecian 
capitol building, both as to the character of the occupation 
in which the people were engaged, and the social character 
istics of the people themselves. While the genius of com 
merce presided over the valley, the favorite resting places 
of science, literature and art was among the shaded walks of 
the grand old park, in the alcoves of the great State library, 
or among the more secluded retreats furnished by the club 
rooms or the snug offices and elegant homes of men whose 
cultur^ and goodness had been transmitted from the early 
colonial days, with the treasure of a history and the lore of 
traditions unequalled, save in England or in France. This 
spirit rested upon the whole city in these golden days; it 
made every man and woman who dwelt there, whether white 
or black, bond or free, rich or poor, more or less a gentle 
man or a gentle-lady. 

. A Virginia gentleman of the old school may not have been 
produced alone in Richmond. Far be it from me to locate 
the virtues of the old Commonwealth exclusively at this 
place, but I do say that they were to be found in this glorious 
old city in 1861, in the fullest expressions of the highest type 
of civilization America has ever seen. I do not know how it is 
to-day in the "City by the James." Many of the noble men 
and women who illustrated the period of which I am writing 



334 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

have left the weal of the " Old Dominion " into other hands, 
have passed over the dark river and are " resting in the 
shade of the trees," in a lovelier park than Richmond can 
ever have ; but, far above material considerations, a thousand 
times greater than all the wealth destroyed by the war or 
that may have been accumulated since, would I value the 
character of a Virginia gentleman or lady as I knew these 
in my young mantiood. In later days, as I have seen the 
easy grace and simplicity, the ingenuous frankness, the sin 
cere amenities and uncalculating generosity of our people 
farther south, corrupted by the material spirit and borish 
manners of those who have come among us to fatten on 
misfortune and to purchase preferment as they would the 
meat of the markets, I have wondered how it was in the 
old metropolitan cities of the South : if the sora of the 
" Eastern Shore " and the rice bird of our Southern sea 
board, the Madeira of Charleston and the Sherry of Rich 
mond, the oysters of York river and the rice of the Waca- 
maw, with the spirit of Christ and the cavalier in and over 
all, still produce the men and women of yore. I must not, 
however, digress, let the reverie be ever so pleasant. 

Unprepossessing in appearance, uncertain in the promise 
they expressed, with no surer guarantee than the courage 
of a brave people, and no more substantial basis to rest upon 
than the confidence of a devoted patriotism, Confederate 
treasury notes, like the old continental bills of 1780, were,, 
with the money changers, considered at best but the expres 
sions of a metaphysical faith "the substance of things 
hoped for, the evidence of things unseen." 

Not so with our good people throughout all of the Confed 
eracy. It was their money; the representative of the highest 
value they chose to recognize; the success of a cause for 
which they were struggling, and for which life and all mate 
rial considerations were pledged and freely offered. 



FINANCIAL POLICY. 335 

It may not be generally known, but it is nevertheless a 
fact, that Confederate money was at par with gold and for 
eign exchanges in several seaports of the Confederacy for at 
least a month after its first appearance. As late as the first 
of August, 1861, it was at only eight per cent, discount for 
gold in Richmond, and at par in New Orleans, Mobile and 
Charleston. This may not have been through the operation 
of any legitimate principles of political economy I will not 
undertake to say it was but rather a result brought about 
by the financiering skill of Mr. Memminger, and the patriotic 
co-operation of the leading bankers in these commercial cen 
ters. At any rate, several large bills of exchange on London 
and Paris were bought by our agents at each of the cities 
named above and were paid for at par with our home-made 
money. As far as the government of France was concerned, 
the exchange was within the rule of values as these are fixed 
in the purchasing power of money. This government, mak 
ing a monopoly of tobacco in its domain, could purchase as 
much with a Confederate dollar from our agents in Richmond 
as with an assignat or a gold dollar, so- that until this commod 
ity was virtually made contraband of war by the Federal block 
ade of the James river, we were enabled with our treasury 
notes to increase very largely our gold credits. With our ports 
closed, and having no means of maintaining an uninterrupted 
foreign commerce, the golden period of Confederate finance 
was, of course, limited. First one and then another of the 
few banks that had aided us suspended payment of coin, 
until finally, when the month of August, 1861, arrived, the 
Canal and the Citizens Banks, of New Orleans, were the only 
ones receiving Confederate money on deposit and paying it 
out at par with gold. 

Among the first official duties that engaged my thought 
on reaching Richmond, in the early days of June, was to 
execute the order of mv chief for the establishment of a 



336 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

Bureau of Engraving and Printing in connection with the 
Treasury Department. As stated in a preceding chapter, 
the resources of the cotton-producing region, in which we 
were first established, were so exclusively agricultural that 
skilled engravers, either on wood, stone or metals, were not 
to he found. The loss of the treasury notes, engraved and 
printed through the kindness of Mr. G. B. Lamar, by the 
American Bank-Note Company of New York, necessitated 
that we should become our own printers, and not rely upon 
the contingencies of running through the blockaded ports 
notes that possibly may have been much better executed in 
Europe. After much inquiry I found a clever German res 
ident in Richmond who was engaged in a small way in the 
business of lithographing, but who had as yet essayed no 
better class of work than the cards and posters of business 
men. The discovery was a great relief to me, and a matter 
of much congratulation with the Secretary, especially as it 
was ascertained that Mr. Hoyer could induce the necessary 
assistants to come to his aid from Baltimore. In a few days 
thereafter the firm of Hoyer & Ludwig had been established 
in convenient rooms 011 Main street, and were at work under 
special contract with the Confederate States to engrave and 
print the treasury notes, their establishment being under 
such regulations and surveillance as was deemed necessary 
by the Secretary of the Treasury. After many experimental 
trials, the first approved proof-sheet of eight one hundred 
dollar bills was taken in to the Secretary for his inspection. 
While there were defects, palpable to even a superficial crit- 
cism, yet these, under the circumstances, were not deemed 
great enough to condemn the work. The demand for our 
promises to pay was imperative. To wait under these cir 
cumstances until another stone could be engraved, without 
the assurance that the work would "be more satisfactory, was 
more than the Secretary s patience could stand. In approv 
ing this first proof-sheet, now in my possession, Mr. Mem- 



FINANCIAL POLICY. 337 

ininger wrote on its back these words: " When the money 
changers become more familiar with the peculiar features of 
these uncanny bills, it will be as difficult to pass a counterfeit 
as if they had been engraved on steel by an expert; may be 
more so." At once the presses in Hover & Ludwig s estab 
lishment were put to work, using at first bank-note paper 
brought from Baltimore by our special agents, who were so 
expert in passing the Federal picket lines that they kept us 
supplied not only with bank-note paper, but with the daily 
newspapers from all the northeastern cities. The Herald, 
published in New York in the morning, I had on my desk 
in Richmond the next morning, not for a day or so, but for 
weeks at a time. 

Mr. Thompson Allan, of Georgia, was placed in charge of 
the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, under whose careful 
supervision it remained until removed to Columbia, South 
Carolina, in 1863. The first issues were of one hundred, 
fifty, twenty, and ten-dollar notes. As the printing had to 
be done entirely by hand, and the impression taken from 
more than one stone, the " money-mill," as the bureau was 
facetiously called, was very slow in furnishing the desired 
notes. It was manifest at the outset that it would be impos 
sible for the Treasurer and Register each to sign the im 
mense number of bills that would soon be waiting their 
autographs before being numbered and made ready for issue 
To meet this difficulty such of the gentlemen in the depart 
ment who were rapid in the use of a pen, and whose signa 
tures were the most unique, were specially detailed and 
placed in charge of Mr. John Ott, representing the Treasurer, 
and Mr. J. C. Thayer, representing the Register. It was 
not long before the clerks under these -gentlemen, signing, 
numbering, assorting, counting, packing, and verifying 
" Confederate money," were as numerous, and, the feminine 
division of them, far nioro interesting than in any other 
branch of the public service. 

22 



338 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

From the small beginnings at Montgomery, the Treasury 
Department, in all of its divisions and sub-divisions, had as 
sumed proportions far beyond all expectations. From the 
unfurnished room I had entered at Montgomery, the day 
after the inauguration of President Davis, the office of the 
Secretary of the Treasury at Richmond had become a great 
center to which many subordinate officers were reporting 
daily, and to which came in person or by letters the bankers 
and business men of the whole South. To meet promptly 
the responsibilities of his position and to dispatch the rou 
tine business growing more voluminous each day, Mr. Mem- 
minger adopted at an early day a systematic order of arrange 
ment to which he adhered, placing on duty in charge of di 
visions gentlemen whose willing spirits and efficient service 
greatly aided him. Mr. Thompson Allan was transfered 
from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and placed in 
charge of the " Tithing or Tax Bureau," while Mr. J. C. 
Thayer and James Simons, of Charleston, were placed in 
charge of the " Treasury Note Bureau.". To the " Cotton- 
Tax Office " was assigned Mr. A. Roan. These excellent 
gentlemen brought to the discharge of their duties the care 
ful attention of experienced business men, and were of great 
service in relieving Mr. Memminger of the anxiety he had 
with regard to the rapid and efficient discharge of the duties 
entrusted to them. The clerks of the departments were now 
numbered by hundreds, and more than one building besides 
the Custom-House was necessary for their accommodation 
and the conduct of the business of the several bureaus of the 
department. 

Whatever may have been the reasoning that influenced 
Congress to provide at the outset for a loan of only fifteen 
millions of dollars, as being sufficient for the wants of the 
Confederacy, it became apparent after the inauguration of 
Mr, Lincoln as President of the United States, that a much 
larger amount would be needed to meet the exigencies of a 



FINANCIAL POLICY. 339 

war whose magnitude the most sagacious could not foresee. 
Accordingly another loan, known as the " one hundred mil 
lion loan," was authorised by an act of the Confederate 
Congress, called the "War Tax Act." 

Some idea may be formed of the demands made on the 
Treasury, when reference is made to the reports of Secretary 
Memminger appended to this volume. The expenditures of 
the government in its several departments had reached, on 
the 20th of November, 1SG1 eight months from the inaug 
uration of Mr. Davis over seventy millions of dollars; on 
the 14th of March, 1SG2, to over one hundred and sixty 
millions, and on the 10th of January, 1863, to over four hun 
dred and forty millions. 

To provide for these enormous requisitions Mr. Memmin 
ger had his financial abilities taxed, as but few, if any min 
isters have ever had. The difficulties surrounding him 
have, to a certain extent, been referred to. The reader who 
will examine his reports with care, finds these difficulties 
clearly stated in his own language, but he can scarcely real 
ize how embarrasing to the Secretary was the absence of the 
necessary machinery to execute his plans or to provide the 
bonds and the treasury notes authorized by his government. 
These annoying details, once arranged, then came the 
further tax upon his mind of preserving the credit of the 
government in the midst of a war which was constantly in 
creasing in its proportions, and was exhausting, day after 
day, the resources of the Confederacy. 

In order that the reader may have a clear idea of the 
financial system adopted by the Confederate government, I 
deem it advisable to give a brief history of the same, which, 
in connection with the Secretary s reports, will show the 
plan adopted to meet the enormous expenses incident to a 
great war; and also to maintain the credit of a Confederacy 
seeking to secure a place among the nations of the world. 



340 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

The sources of income to all governments is either in the 
revenues from custom duties or that derived from direct tax 
ation. Having no adequate revenue from duties on imports 
or exports, and the proceeds to be derived from a direct tax 
being wholly insufficient to meet the expenses of a war, re 
sort was had to loans and treasury notes. The first of these 
loans was for fifteen millions of dollars, to run for ten years, 
and bearing an interest of eight per cent, secured by an export 
duty of one-eighth of a cent per pound on cotton. At the 
same time thai this loan was authorized an issue of one mil 
lion dollars in treasury notes was provided for, made pay 
able in one year, and bearing interest at the rate of 3.65 per 
cent. This first loan was successfully negotiated, at par 
with specie, and was taken chiefly by the banks and com 
mercial houses of the Southern cities. As the war enlarged 
its proportions a demand for much larger sums was made, 
and necessitated another issue of twenty million dollars in 
treasury notes and another loan of thirty million dollars in 
eight per cent, bonds. The act of Congress authorizing this 
issue of treasury notes, was passed 16th May, 1861. The 
holder of these notes had the right to fund them at pleasure 
in eight per cent, bonds. The certainty of a long war being 
evident, and its dimensions having greatly increased, 
another loan was provided for by act of Congress, in August, 
1861. This loan was for one hundred millions of dollars, 
and the issue of treasury notes was extended to one hundred 
millions, convertible, as before, into eight per cent, bonds. 
In order to provide still further against a redundant cur 
rency, it was provided that the holder of these treasury notes 
might exchange them for bonds payable in ten years and 
bearing seven per cent, interest. To secure the payraent of 
the bonds, principal and interest, a war tax of one-half of one 
per cent, was imposed upon the chief articles of property in 
the Confederacy. It was at this time, August, 1861, that in 
compliance with the recommendation of the Secretary, treas- 



FINANCIAL POLICY. 341 

ury notes were made receivable for the war tax and for all 
public dues except the export duty on cotton. On the 24th 
of December, 1861, a further issue of fifty million dollars in 
treasury notes was authorized. Thus it will be seen, that as 
the exigencies of the war increased the issue of treasury 
notes were rendered necessary, and the debt of the govern 
ment greatly increased. To preserve the value of these notes 
as a currency, it was apparent to the Secretary that provi 
sion must be made for funding them in bonds bearing a 
reasonable interest, and maturing at a long time in the fu 
ture. In discussing the several plans for raising money to 
meet the expenses of the government, Mr. Memminger, in his 
"Report to Congress, March 14th, 1862, " thus refers to 
treasury notes: 

Experience has also established that this is the most dangerous of 
all the methods for raising money. The danger arises from the fact that, 
borrowing money in this form, the government interferes with the 
measures of values. The amount of currency usually circulating in a 
country forms its measure of value. While this consists of gold and sil 
ver, it cannot become redundant, because any excess would be immedi 
ately exported to other countries. But when a currency has no value, 
except in one country, this security against excess is lost and every 
addition becomes permanent circulation. Every money value must re 
adjust itself to this increase, and the result is that to obtain a compara 
tively small amount of money, the values of the entire property of a 
community are changed. The government, in time of war, becomes the 
greatest sufferer. Being the largest purchaser of commodities, it buys at 
the inflated prices, which it has itself produced, and loses more in its 
payments than the amount it has attempted to raise by its currency. 
The relations of debtor and creditor are disturbed by every successive 
issue, and the result is a prostration of public credit and private confi 
dence. The facility with which a government paper currency may be 
issued offers strong temptations to resort to it at difficult times. But 
the disastrous consequences, which have always attended its over-issue, 
warn us to mark with the greatest care the boundaries within which it 
should be confined. 

An aversion to internal taxation was manifested so de 
cidedly among the people that when Congress assembled in 
February, 1862, it was discovered that the enforcement of 



342 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMNINGEE. 

the tax laws, enacted at a previous session, had to a large ex 
tent proven a failure. 

The Secretary of the Treasury again presented this matter 
to the attention of Congress, urging the necessity of the en 
forcement of the collection of the taxes, and also recommend 
ing another mode of taxation in the nature of the old tithing 
system, levying a per cent, upon all products needed for the 
supply of the army. This was subsequently known as the 
" Tax in Kind/ He recommended still another expedient 
to reduce the volume of the currency by dispensing with the 
use of treasury notes as much as possible in the purchase of 
produce, and using bonds in exchange for all articles needed 
as supplies for the government. This was known as the " Pro 
duce Loan." Every effort to induce the holders of treasury- 
notes to fund them in the bonds of the government was 
made, and every legitimate device used by the Secretary to 
dispense with their use in meeting the expenses of the gov 
ernment, but with only partial success. In the meanwhile 
the exigencies of the war permitted no delay. Money of 
some kind must be had. So it was that the increase in the 
issue of treasury notes continued, until on the first of Janu 
ary, 1863, the currency in circulation amounted to over six 
hundred millions of dollars, or to more than three times the 
actual amount needed for the business of the country. 

The effect of this great redundancy in the currency on 
the general business interests of the country and the proper 
remedy for it, is all clearly set forth in the report of Mr. 
Memminger and his recommendation to Congress of Janu 
ary 10, 1863. To remedy the evil, the Secretary suggested 
that a period of limitation for the funding of treasury notes 
should be fixed, and after the lapse of this time, all treas 
ury notes issued prior to December 1, 1862, should cease to 
be currency. This plan, if it had been successfully exe 
cuted, would have forced the funding of a large portion of 
the currency, quite sufficient to have reduced it, in the 



FINANCIAL POLICY. 343 

opinion of the Secretary, to one hundred and fifty millions 
of dollars, which he considered the extreme limit re 
quired by the business wants of the country. To secure 
the prompt payment of the interest and principal of the 
bonds in which the holders of treasury notes were required 
to invest, the Secretary called for an ample and permanent 
tax which he states is the " corner-stone of the whole fabric. . . 
and without it the scheme has no foundation, and secures nei 
ther public confidence nor success." It was just at this vital 
point in the whole system, as recommended by the Secre 
tary, that Congress disagreed with him. Influenced more 
by a popular clamor against the imposition of taxes than by 
the financial logic of the wise Secretary, Congress failed to 
provide such means for collecting the tax, urged by the Sec 
retary, as w^ere effective. Under the provisions of the Con 
stitution the amount required to be raised by taxation was 
to be divided among the several States, and a pro-rata assess 
ment made upon each, to be paid to the general government 
by the Governors when collected by the officers of the 
States. So much opposed to taxation were the people that 
of the assessments made, only three States South Caro 
lina, Mississippi and Texas collected the tax from the peo 
ple in Confederate treasury notes ; the other States paying 
theirs in State treasury notes, and thus really increasing, 
instead of diminishing, the general public debt. 

In his report to Congress, December 7, 1863, Mr. Mem- 
minger again called the attention of Congress to the 
necessity of reducing the currency, and again urged 
the necessity of a tax to assure the payment of the in 
terest on the bonds in which the treasury notes were 
to be funded. The delay and uncertainty of returns 
from the tax act of February, 1863, left the Secretary 
no resource but to continue the issue of treasury notes to 
meet the constantly increasing demands of the government 
and to sustain them as far as possible by funding them in 



344 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

bonds. Referring to the " only legitimate source of supply, 
taxes and loans" the Secretary clearly shows that taxes alone 
have never been able to sustain a nation engaged in a great 
war ; that loans are necessary ; but in order to maintain the 
credit on which these loans rest, a tax must be levied suffi 
cient to meet the interest of the loan "in specie or. its equivo- 
lent, whenever this interest becomes due." In accord with the 
recommendations made in his report 17th of February, 
1864, Congress passed an act authorizing the reduction of 
the currency and a new issue of bonds and treasury notes. 
All treasury notes, not bearing interest and above the 
denomination of five dollars, were made fundable in regis 
tered bonds bearing four per cent, interest, and maturing in 
twenty years. These notes were to be offered in six months 
or thereafter and not to be received as currency. A new 
issue of notes was authorized, made receivable for all public 
dues, except customs, at the rate of two dollars for three of 
the old issue. This new issue, intended to absorb all other 
issues of treasury notes, was limited to two hundred mil 
lions of dollars, and the faith of the government was pledged 
not to increase it or make any other issue of treasury notes. 
To meet the expenses of the government an issue of five 
hundred millions of six per cent, bonds was authorized, and 
for the payment of the interest all import and export duties, 
payable in specie, was pledged. The provisions of the act 
of Congress appears to have had the effect desired by the 
Secretary, of bringing the currency within the limit fixed 
by him, as necessary to adjust it to a normal standard of 
values. Referring to the effect of this act, in his report of 
May 2, 1864, the Secretary says : " The financial measures 
adopted at the last session of Congress have given the 
country a new starting point. The currency is once more 
brought within bounds and it is most earnestly urged 
upon Congress to so fence around those bounds that they 
cannot be passed. This can only be done by a careful re- 



FIN A NO LA L POL 1C Y. 345 

vision of every appropriation, and by admitting only such 
as are absolutely necessary ; by a steady refusal to increase 
the volume of the currency, and by providing sufficient 
other means to meet the appropriations which shall be 
made." 

The " sufficient other means " the Secretary found in taxa 
tion the "foundation of all sources of supply," as he goes on 
elaborately to show, in this his last report and recommenda 
tion to Congress. There can be no doubt but that the plans 
of the Secretary were wise, and that the expedients he re 
sorted to were, under the circumstances, the best pos 
sible means he could employ to keep the currency of the 
Confederate States in a proper relation to the universally 
recognized standard of values and to the legitimate business 
wants of the country. But what could he or any one else, 
however wise, have done to prevent the depreciation of a 
paper currency, unsupported by the foundation upon which 
rests all credit; a certain and permanent income in specie, or 
its equivalent, adequate to pay with promptness the interest 
of the debt, and also to provide for a sinking fund that would 
in time discharge the principal? 

Notwithstanding the Secretary had urged upon Congress 
the necessity of providing this fund by the imposition of a 
tax on all property and on incomes, his recommendations 
were not acted upon in the manner desired by him. Provis 
ion was made for consolidating the debt and for reducing the 
volume of the currency to the limit desired, but after a pro 
tracted discussion Congress again declined to make the 
money taxes payable alone in treasury notes, as urged by the 
Secretary, but allowed the tax-payers to pay their taxes in 
four per cent, bonds, or certificates, in which the notes had 
been previously funded. Thus it was that the only certain 
means of keeping the currency within the limit prescribed 
in the act was defeated by its own provisions. Referring to 
this in his report to Congress, May 2, 1864, the Secretary 



34*8 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

says: " Payment into the Treasury of treasury notes is a neces 
sary instrument to their proper circulation. Without the 
aid of such an instrument the currency of the notes depends 
entirely upon consent. They are deprived of one of the 
essential elements of value namely, general demand. After 
demonstrating the necessity for making the taxes payable in 
treasury notes, the Secretary makes an argument clearly 
showing the provisions of the tax act of Congress to be in 
adequate to meet the objects had in view when recommended 
by him in a previous report. He shows the system of taxa 
tion adopted to be " so cumbersome and intricate that delay and 
disappointment will be its inevitable result" He urges that 
another tax bill be framed providing " a simple tax on prop 
erty and on incomes " and the repeal of the following pro 
visions in the objectionable act: 

That which allows the value of the tax, in kind, to be deducted from 
the tax of five per cent, on agricultural property. 

2. That which repeals the income tax on incomes derived from prop 
erty taxed as capital. 

3. That which discriminates as to the date at which assessments are 
to be made. 

No argument could be made .clearer or more convincing 
than that to be found in the Secretary s report urging the 
repeal of this tax act and the adoption of another to meet the 
demands of the government and to support its credit. In 
stead of aiding him to keep the currency within the limit 
prescribed, the act was in itself an inseparable barrier to the 
accomplishment of this object as long, as it permitted taxes 
to be paid with certificates, in which the currency had been 
funded. To use the language of the Secretary, "This pro 
vision of the tax bill, instead of reducing the volume of the 
currency, maintains its redundancy, if it does not in reality 
increase it. It makes the whole funding system a mere sham, 
and gives to unmatured bonds the functions of treasury 
notes/ Nevertheless, the urgent recommendations of the 



FINANCIAL POLICY. 347 

Secretary were not acted upon as he desired. The majority 
in Congress appear to have been seeking more to maintain 
their popularity with an uninformed constituency by yield 
ing to a demand for more money than to conform their leg 
islation to well-established principles of finance. Failing 
again to secure such a system of taxation as in his judgment 
was essential to protect the credit of the government, discov 
ering that his recommendations were either ignored, or when 
acted upon were so changed as to be wholly inadequate to 
accomplish the ends desired, Mr. Memminger withdrew from 
what he knew to be a hopeless task, and resigned the burdens 
of a thankless office. 

While it is not my purpose to enter into an argument with 
the object in view of vindicating Mr. Memminger from 
charges made by some that his want of sagacity and proper 
administrative ability caused the unnecessary depreciation 
of Confederate securities, or failed to provide a credit in 
Europe, which was either offered or that could have been 
secured by his action, the legislation of the Confederate 
Congress and Mr. Memminger s reports to that body are his 
own proper and complete vindication. 

It is proper, however, for me to call attention to the fact 
that Mr. Memminger was but an executive officer. 

At no time was he given an unlimited authority to act as 
his judgment alone would dictate in the management of the 
Confederate finances, either at home or abroad. On the con 
trary, he was never more than an officer executing the will 
of Congress. It is true that he had the right to appear be 
fore that body and advocate his recommendations, and to 
suggest such enactments as in his judgment were necessary, 
but beyond this he could not go. The financial legislation 
of Congress was, in the most vital points, opposed to his 
judgment and contrary to his often-repeated and strongly- 
urged recommendations. So embarrassing to the Secretary 
was this disagreement with the law-making power, that on 



348 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGEU. 

more than one occasion he made this the reason, in commu 
nications to the President, why he desired to retire from the 
thankless task of attempting to execute what were to him 
financial absurdities or impossibilities. Carlisle says that 
" the opinion of one man who sees a thing is worth more than 
that of a million who do not see it." Well would it have 
been for the Confederate cause if the Congress had simply 
followed the sound and carefully digested financial plans of 
the Secretary, instead of forcing on the country a policy, if 
such it may be called, which was a jumble, resulting from 
confusion of ideas, and at best but a compromise between 
opposing factions. 

In this connection I present the reply of Mr. Memminger 
to certain strictures made on his administration by General 
Joseph E. Johnston, and the comments of a contributor to 
the Charleston Courier, who is supposed to have been Mr. 
Trenholm. The substance of General Johnston s charge is 
that the failure of the Confederate cause was due to the fail 
ure of its finances; that the government failed to adopt the 
true financial policy which was easy enough to see and 
" generally understood in the country! " Having made this 
very remarkable charge the General proceeds to unfold his 
plan as follows. 

The government was organized in February, and he states 
that the blockade of the Southern ports, though proclaimed 
in May, was not made " effective " until the end of the fol 
lowing winter a period of twelve months in which "it 
would have been easy" to ship and to convert into money 
four or five million bales of cotton, etc. 

It must certainly surprise the reader when he looks into 
this grave proposition that the four or five million bales of 
cotton had no existence except in the fancy of the General. 
The total crop of 1860- 61 was officially reported at 3,849,- 
000 bales. Of this 3,000,000 bales had been exported up to 
February, the month when the Confederate government was 



FINANCIAL POLICY. 349 

organized; and 600,000 bales in the hands of the New Eng 
land spinners, the seed for the next crop (1861- 62) not be 
ing yet in the ground. It is needless to examine into the 
merits of this scheme any further. Granting that the cotton 
did exist in the Southern States, it would have been impos 
sible, as Mr. Memminger clearly shows, to have shipped any 
large quantity of it. So that the whole charge of failure of 
the financial policy by General Johnston resolves itself into 
a fleet of phantom ships loaded with phantom cotton. This 
singular charge has only been noticed on account of the 
high source from which it emanates, and because of the cur 
rency which the idea has obtained among a class of critics. 
The following answer to General Johnston s criticism ap 
peared in the Charleston Courier, March 28, 1874 : 

CHARLESTON, March 27, 1874. 
To the Editor of the News and Courier: 

I observe by your paper of yesterday, which extracts a passage from 
General Johnston s book, that he follows the ancient example of our 
forefather Adam, in casting the fault of a general calamity on some 
other person. He attributes the failure of the Southern Confederacy to 
the blunder of the government, at its first institution, in not possessing 
itself of the cotton crop then in the hands of the planters. This cotton 
(according to the General) should have been shipped in anticipation of 
the blockade, and it would then have furnished a basis for future credit. 
As I was at that time in charge of the Treasury Department, the respon 
sibility of this failure would rest chiefly on me; and you will therefore 
not consider it out of place that I should correct misapprehensions 
which seem to have misled yourself as well as General Johnston. 

The Confederate government was organized in February, the block 
ade was .instituted in May, thus leaving a period of three months in 
which the whole cotton crop on hand, say four millions of bales, ought, 
according to the military financier, to have been got into the hands of 
the Confederate government, and to have been shipped abroad. This 
would have required a fleet of four thousand ships, allowing one thous 
and bales to the ship. Where would these vessels have been procured 
in the face of the notification of the blockade? and was not as much of 
the cotton shipped by private enterprise as could have been shipped by 
the government? When so shipped, the proceeds of the sale were in 
most cases sold to the government in the shape of bills of exchange. 



350 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEHMIXGER. 

The superior advantage of this plan is evinced by the fact that, through 
out the year, the government exchanged its own notes for bills on Eng 
land at par, with which it paid for all its arms and munitions of war. 

Of course this vast amount of cotton could only have been procured 
in one of three ways by seizure, by purchase or by donation. 

Certainly no one, at the first inception of the Confederacy, would 
have ventured to propose to seize upon the crop then in the hands of 
the planters, and which furnished their only means of subsistence. 

Could it not, then, have been purchased? 

At the commencement of the government the Treasury had not funds 
to pay for the table on which the Secretary was writing; and the first 
purchases of the government made abroad were made on the private 
draft of the Secretary. There was not to be found, in the whole Confed 
eracy, a sheet of bank-note paper on which to print a note. Forecasting 
this need, the Secretary had ordered from England a consignment .of 
note paper and lithographic materials, the vessel containing which was 
captured on the high seas; and many of the friends of the late Colonel 
Evans, of our city, will remember that he nearly lost his life in the at 
tempt to bring across the lines a single parcel of note paper. It is within 
the memory of the printers of these notes, that months elapsed before 
bonds or notes could be engraved and printed; and these constituted 
our entire currency. How, then, was the cotton to be paid for? 

And when the mechanical difficulties were overcome, the financial 
presented an equal barrier. The scheme for raising money, adopted by 
Congress, was to issue Confederate notes, funding the redundant notes 
in interest-bearing bonds ; and all payments at the treasury were made 
with these notes. The daily demands on the Treasury exceeded greatly 
the means of supply. Now, if instead of applying the notes to the daily 
payments required at the Treasury they had been used to purchase cot 
ton, the Treasury would have found itself filled with cotton, without any 
money to meet the wants of the government until that cotton could be 
shipped abroad and sold. 

If instead of payment in notes the bonds of the government had been 
used to purchase the cotton crop, those bonds would have been thrown 
in the market to meet the necessities of the planters, and their value as 
a means of funding the surplus currency would have been destroyed. 
It is obvious to any one acquainted with finance that this would have 
broken down the Confederate currency within the first year of its exist 
ence, whereas the plan pursued sustained the credit of the Confede 
racy until broken down under calamities by which no credit could sur 
vive. 

The only remaining mode in which the cotton could have been pro 
cured by the government was by donation from the planters. So far 
was this donation from being possible that the Treasury actually had to 



FINANCIAL POLICY. 351 

issue a circular in response to applications to the government for aid to 
the planters in making loans to them, and not a bale of the crop of that 
year was contributed to the government. An effort was made to get 
pledges of the next year s crop in exchange for bonds of the govern 
ment. To accomplish this it was deemed necessary to allow the plant 
ers to get their own price through their own factors without allowing the 
government to fix its price, and the whole amount thus pledged did 
not reach fifty millions, or about two months expenses of the govern 
ment, of which perhaps one-third was never received. 

Every one conversant with the politics of the day knows that it was 
the current expectation that the blockade could not be continued for a 
year. The Confederate Congress were so informed when they adopted 
the international agreement as to privateers. The government of the 
United States equally supposed that the war would be of short dura 
tion, as is apparent from President Lincoln s proclamation calling for 
troops for ninety days. There could therefore be no motive to induce 
the Confederate government to store up cotton as a basis of credit. 
When it became apparent that the blockade and the war would con 
tinue the government then made arrangements for using cotton as the 
basis of a loan ; and the large foreign cotton loan negotiated in Europe 
by Messrs. Erlanger furnished abundant resources to the government 
for its supplies from abroad. But even to the last its power over the 
crop was restricted by the large quantities held in private hands which 
could not be purchased at all. At no time that I am aware of was it in 
the power of the government to get possession of the cotton crop, unless 
it had seized the same by force, and by the same force compelled pay 
ment in a depreciated currency; a high-handed course which could 
never receive the sanction of the statesmen who administered our gov 
ernment The only approximation to it was in the shape of a tax in 
kind when the currency failed to command supplies, and which was 
made as just and equal as any other tax. 

The truth is, that if General Johnston s recollections of history were 
as vivid as his knowledge of military tactics is great, instead of censur 
ing the financial administration of the Confederate government, he 
would have discovered no instance on record where a war of such di 
mensions, in a constantly decreasing territory, has been sustained for 
four years by mere financial expedients, without the aid usually derived 
from taxes for in the whole Confederate war but one general war tax 
was levied, and a great portion of that was never collected. 

C. G. MEMMINGER. 

I append, as part of the history of the times, one of the 
circulars of the Treasury Department on this subject. 



352 LIFE AND TIMES OF (7. G. MEMMINGER. 

CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, 

EICHMOND, October 15, 1861. 

The Commissioners Appointed to receive Subscriptions to the Produce Loan: 
GENTLEMEN, Inquiries have been made from various quarters 

1. Whether during the continuance of the blockade, effort should be 
made to procure further subscriptions. 

2. Whether the government will authorize promises to be held out of 
aid to the planters, as an inducement to such for further subscriptions. 

The first inquiry seems to imply a misunderstanding of the scheme 
of the subscriptions. Many persons have supposed that the govern 
ment was to have some control of the produce itself; others that the 
time of sale appointed by the subscription was to be absolute and 
unconditional. The caption at the head of the lists, when examined, 
will correct both these errors. The subscription is confined to the pro 
ceeds of sales, and contains an order on the commission merchant or 
factor of the planter to pay over to the treasurer the amount sub 
scribed, in exchange for Confederate bonds. The transaction is simply s 
an agreement by the planter to lend the government so much money; 
and, in order to complete the transaction, a time and place are ap 
pointed when and where the parties may meet to carry it out. The im 
portant point is, that it shall certainly be completed at some time, and 
that is secured by the engagement of the planter. Whether that time 
be December or June is simply a question of convenience, and works no 
injury to either party. The government is sure of the eventual pay 
ment, and derives from that certainty so much credit ; and it loses noth 
ing, because it gives its bond only when the money is paid. 

It is obvious, therefore, that the subscriptions are quite as valuable to 
the government during the blockade as after it. The blockade simply 
suspends the completion of the engagement. It becomes the interest of 
both parties to wait for a good price, and the government will readily 
consent to a postponement of the sale. 

You perceive, therefore, that it is desirable to continue your exertions 
to increase the subscriptions, and you are authorized to say that the 
government will consent to a reasonable extension of the time appointed 
for sales. 

2. The next inquiry is as to a promise of material aid from the govern 
ment to the planters. 

In answering this inquiry I am to speak in advance of any action of 
Congress. What that body may see fit to do, it is not for me to deter 
mine. I can express merely the views of this department, and these 
must govern your action until reversed by a higher authority. It would 
be a sufficient answer to the inquiry to say that the action of the govern 
ment is settled by the Constitution. No power is granted to any depart 
ment to lend money for the relief of any interest. Even the power of 



FINANCIAL POLICY. 353 

Congress in relation to money is confined to borrowing, and no clause can 
be found which would sanction so stupendous a scheme as purchasing the 
entire crop with a view to aid its owners. But it may be said that the 
Constitution of the Provisional government may be altered by Congress, 
and that it is the duty of this department to prepare the way for such 
alteration, if in its judgment the financial necessities of the country de 
mand the change. 

I am not disposed, then, to close the inquiry with the abrupt answer 
thus made by the Constitution, and will proceed to consider the subject 
upon its intrinsic merits. 

Two plans of relief have been proposed. The one is that the govern 
ment should purchase the entire crop of the country ; the-other that an 
advance should be made of part of its value. In either case the payment 
is to be made by the issue of treasury notes, and, therefore, if we put 
aside for the present the many and serious objections to the possession, 
transportation and management of the crop by the government, it be* 
comes simply a question of amount. To purchase the whole crop would 
require its whole value, less the amount of the subscriptions made to the 
government. If we estimate the whole crop of cotton at two hundred 
millions and the subscriptions at fifty millions, the purchase would then 
require one hundred and fifty millions of treasury notes, and, if to this 
sum be added the amount of values for other agricultural products, 
which would certainly claim the same benefit, the sum required would 
probably reach one hundred and seventy-five millions. 

The amount called for by the other plan of making an advance would 
depend upon the proportion of that advance. Few of the advocates of 
this plan have put it lower than five cents per pound on cotton, and at 
the same rate on other produce. It may, therefore, be very fairly set 
down at about one hundred millions. 

If we consider first, the least objectionable of these plans, it is cer 
tainly that which requires ^the smallest sum ; and if this be found im 
practicable, the larger must of necessity be rejected. Our inquiry, then, 
may be narrowed down to a proposal that the government should issue 
one hundred millions of treasury notes, to be distributed among the 
planting community upon the pledge of the forthcoming crop. 

The first remarkable feature in this scheme is that it proposes that a 
new government, yet struggling for existence, should reject all the les 
sons of experience and undertake that which no government, however 
long established, has yet succeeded in effecting. The " organization of 
labor" has called forth many ingenious attempts, both speculative and 
practical, among well-established governments, but always with disas 
trous failure. With us, however, the experiment is proposed to a new 
government, which is engaged in a gigantic war, and which must rely 
on credit to furnish means to carry on that war. Our enemies are in 



354 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

possession of all the munitions and workshops which hav& been collected 
daring forty-five years of peace their fleets have been built up at our 
joint expense. With all these on hand, they yet are obliged to expend 
nearly ten millions of dollars per week to carry on the war. Can we ex 
pect to contend with them at less than half that expenditure? Suppos 
ing that it may require two hundred millions of dollars ; then the pro 
posal is that at a time when we are called upon to raise this large sum 
for the support of the government, we shall raise a further sum of one 
hundred millions for the benefit of the planting interest. 

For it must be observed, first, that the government receives no bene 
fit whatever from this advance. The money is paid to each individual 
planter, and in exchange the government receives only his bond or 
note or, if the cotton be purchased, the government receives only cer 
tain bales of cotton. That is to say, the government pays out money 
which is needful to its very existence, and receives in exchange planters 
notes or produce, which it does not need and cannot in any way make use 
of. It mast be observed, in the next place, that treasury notes have now 
become the currency of the country. They are, therefore, at present 
the measures of value. In this view it is the duty of the government to 
limit their issue, as far as practicable, to that amount which is the limit 
of its currency. Every person acquainted with this branch of political 
science, is aware that if the currency passes this point it not only be^ 
comes depreciated, but it disturbs the just relations of society precisely 
as th ough an arbitrary authority should change the weights and meas~ 
ures of the country. If the currency of a country should be suddenly 
extended from one hundred to two hundred millions of dollars, that 
which was measured by one dollar is now measured by two, and every 
article must be rated at twice its former price. Of course all con 
tracts are disturbed. The debt incurred before the increase is discharged 
by paying one-half its former value ; and each article purchased must 
be paid for at double its former price. Thegovernment from the neces 
sities of war, is the largest purchaser, and thus, by a kind of suicidal 
act, compels itself to pay two dollars for what one would have formerly 
purchased. And at this rate of advance, two hundred millions of dol 
lars can effect no more than one hundred millions of dollars would have 
effected before ; or, in other words, one hundred millions of dollars are 
actually sunk in the operation. 

Such a condition of the currency the government has anxiously en- 1 
deavored to guard against. The war tax was laid for the purpose of 
creating a demand for treasury notes, and a security for their redemp 
tion. The redundancy has been carefully guarded against by allowing 
them to be funded in eight per cent, bonds. If necessity shall compel 
the government to issue for the defense of the country and to keep out 
two hundred millions, it is plain that every accession must impair and 
may defeat all these precautions. 



FINANCIAL POLICY. 355 

If the government should undertake for the sake of private interest 
so large an increase of issues it may hazard its entire credit and stability. 
The experiment is too dangerous, and relief for the planters must be 
sought in some other direction. And may not the remedy be found ? 

In the first place let the planters immediately take measures for 
winter crops to relieve the demand for grain and provisions. Let them 
proceed to divert part of their labor from cotton and make their own 
clothing and supplies. Then let them apply to the great resource pre 
sented by the money capital in banks and private hands. Let this capi 
tal come forward and assist the agricultural interest. Heretofore the 
banks have employed a large part of their capital in the purchase of 
Northern exchange. Let them apply this portion to factors acceptances 
of planters drafts secured by the pledge of the produce in the planters 
hands. An extension of the time usually allowed on these drafts would 
overcome most of the difficulties. The ex-tension could safely reach the 
probable time of sale of the crops, inasmuch as the suspension of specie 
payments throughout the entire Confederacy relieves each bank from 
calls for coin. The banks are accustomed to manage loans of this char 
acter, and will conduct the operation with such skill as will make them 
mutually advantageous. The amount of advance asked from the banks 
\vould be greatly less than if advances were offered by the government; 
and all the abuses incident to government agencies would be avoided. 

It seems to me, therefore, that it is neither necessary nor expedient 
that the government should embark upon this dangerous experiment. 
It is far better that each class of the community should endeavor to 
secure its own existence by its own exertions, and if an effort be at once 
made by so intelligent a class as the planters, it will result in relief. 
Delay in these efforts occasioned by vague expectations of relief from 
the government, which cannot be realized, may defeat that which is yet 
practicable. 

Respectfully, your obedient servant, 

C. G. MEMMINGER, 
Secretary of the Treasury. 

A contributor to the Charleston Courier, of the same date 
from which I extract the foregoing, presents a statement 
which I append to the answer of Mr. Memminger as conclu 
sive on the point made by General Johnston. 

To the Editor of the News and Courier: 

The News and Courier, quoting from the forthcoming work of Gen 
eral Johnston, gives us the views of the author as to the cause of our 
failure. Those who ascribed it " to the superior population and greater 
resources of the Northern States," and those who attributed our defeat to 



356 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

" a want of perseverance, unanimity and even of loyalty on our own part, 
" are, in my view," says the General, " both far wrong." We are inclined 
to believe there is now a third party "wrong." The Confederate gov 
ernment, the General thinks, had the means of filling its treasury, but 
the " government rejected those means." The necessity of actual money 
in the treasury, and the mode of raising it, were generally understood 
in the country. It was that the government should take the cotton 
from the owners and send it to Europe as fast as possible, to be sold 
there. This was easily practicable, for the owners were ready to accept 
any terms the government might fix, and sending to Europe was easy 
in all the first year of the Confederacy s existence. Its government 
went into operation early in February. The blockade of the Southern 
ports were proclaimed in May, but was not at all effective until the end 
of the following winter, so that there was a period of about twelve 
months for the operation of converting four million or five million bales 
of cotton in money. The sum raised in that way would have enabled 
the War Department to procure at once arms enough for five hundred 
thousand men; and after that the Confederate Treasury would have 
been much richer than that of the United States." 

Let us examine the facts upon which this theory rests, and without 
the support of which it must necessarily fall to the ground. The crop 
of cotton available for this scheme must necessarily have been that of 
1860-61. It could not have been the crop of which the seed w r as not yet 
put in the ground when the government was formed in Montgomery. 
What- was then the crop of 18GO-61 ? Was it 4,000,000 to 5,000,000 bales, 
and was it accessible for immediate exportation ? 

The crop of 1860-61 was officially stated at 3,849,000 bales. Of this 
quantity the consumption of the Southern States took off 193,000 bales. 
Leaving for exportation 3,656,000 bales. 

Let us now see what proportion of this quantity was available in the 
way described by General Johnston. 

Up to the 28th of February, the month that gave birth to the infant 
government, 3,000,000 bales had been received at the seaports, and the 
^reat bulk of it had been exported to Europe or been sold to the New 
England spinners. By the 1st of May 586,900 bales more had been re 
ceived and sold. England and the Continent took 3,127,000 bales. The 
New England spinners 654,000 bales. 

It will thus be seen that before the new government was fairly or 
ganized, the entire crop was already beyond its reach. Another crop 
followed, it is true, but no part of it was ready for market before the 
month of September ensuing. This all will agree in ; and they will also 
agree that exportation in any quantity was an absolute impossibility. 
There were no vessels in the ports of the Confederacy; the last had left 
before the expiration of the sixty days allowed to foreign tonnage under 
the blockade proclamation. The only vessels that took out cotton after 



FINANCIAL POLICY. 357 

that time were the foreign steamers that ran the blockade to procure 
cargoes of cotton for the owners. They came in small numbers, and 
one or two at a time. Had the government seized one of them for its 
own use, or prevented them from leaving with cotton, they would have 
ceased to come. T. 

Thus we readily perceive with what facility a theory can 
be established upon mere conjectures, and how quickly it 
vanishes before the statement of real facts. 

For sometime there has been a statement circulated 
among the critics which, in substance, amounts to charging 
Mr. Memminger with a failure to increase the credits of the 
Confederate Treasury in Europe, when the opportunity was 
offered him to do so by Baron Erlanger, a prominent banker 
of Paris. Ascertaining that this statement originated with 
Mr. James G. Gibbes, of Columbia, South Carolina, I called 
upon him, and in reply to my inquiry, received the follow 
ing letter, which distinctly sets forth the charge and names 
the author: 

COLUMBIA, S. C., July 4, 1892. 
Colonel Henry D. Capers: 

DEAR SIR, In reply to your request for information with regard to 
the sale of Confederate securities, I would say that I was sent to Europe 
in December, 1862, by the Treasury Department of the Confederate 
States, then under the control of Mr. Memminger, to assist Mr. James 
Spence, Financial Agent, in disposing of $15.000,000 of Confederate 
bonds, known as " Cotton Loan Bonds." These bonds being redeemable 
at the expiration of six months after the termination of the war at the 
option of the holder either in cotton at sixpence a pound, or in specie. 
The bonds were taken over by me. After several weeks of negotiation 
we found Erlange r & Co., of Frankfort and Paris, more disposed to aid 
us than any other important house. When Erlanger found, however, 
that the amount of the proposed loan was limited to $15,000,000 he was 
very urgent to extend it to a very much larger amount ; very properly 
taking the ground of the great benefits that would accrue to the Con 
federate cause by enlisting European capital in their success. The in 
structions, however, being positive, neither Mr. Spence or myself had 
any power to increase the amount proposed for negotiation. Mr. Erlan 
ger was so decided in his views on the matter that he determined to go 
to Richmond and see the Confederate authorities on the subject, which 
he did, but returned having utterly failed in inducing any increase of 



358 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

the proposed loan ; Mr. Memminger emphatically declaring that $15,- 
000,000 would cpver all that was then actually needed. Mr. Erlangef 
returned to Paris about the middle of February, 1863, supremely dis 
gusted at his failure to convince our authorities of the importance of 
interesting European capital in our cause. It was at last arranged that 
Erlanger would take the bonds at ninety-five cents. Pie then adver 
tised for proposals for the loan, to be received up to March 1st, 1863, no 
bids to be considered less than ninety-five cents. On opening the bids 
it was found that the aggregate bid amounted to 105,000,000, or $525,- 
000,000, at prices from ninety-five cents to par, mostly about ninety-seven 
cents, which gave a clear profit of from five to seven cents on the dollar 
to the firm of Erlanger & Co. 

Comment is unnecessary. If the Confederate authorities had secured 
this large amount of French, English and German capital in their cause 
there is no earthly doubt but that their efforts would have forced a rec 
ognition of the Confederacy and brought about a peaceable solution of 
affairs. 

It has been a matter of surprise to me that so little has been said of 
the facts of this matter. A few years ago Mr. Barnwell Rhett, now of 
Pluntsville, Alabama, applied to me for the details, but I do not know if 
he has ever published them. 

Mr. Erlanger informed me that after his interview with Mr. Memmin 
ger, the Secretary of the Treasury, he tried to induce President Davis to 
use his influence in the matter. Mr. Erlanger told me that President 
Davis was indisposed to take any positive action in the matter, as he en 
trusted the whole matter to the Secretary of the Treasury, but that he 
privately agreed with his views, and thought that it would be a great ad 
vantage to extend the loan as much as possible. 

(Signed) Yours, very respectfully, 

JAMES G. GIBBES. 

I nave no means of investigating the charge made by 
.Baron Erlanger in his statement to Mr. Gibbes other than 
by an examination of the records of the Treasury Depart 
ment and a reference to the official repojts of the Secretary 
of the Treasury to the Confederate Congress. From these it 
"Would appear that Baron Erlanger s statement, as reported 
by Mr. Gibbes, is not in accord either with the letters of the 
Secretary to Mr. John Slidell, our Minister to France, or with 
the official reports and recommendations of the Secretary to 
the Confederate Congress. 



FINANCIAL POLICY. 359 

I find in the record Look of the Secretary s correspondence 
the following letter to Mr. Slidell, which directly contradicts 
the statement of the Paris banker, as far as this represents 
the personal or official views of Mr. Memmingcr on this sub 
ject. 

CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, 
TREASURY DEPARTMENT, Richmond, Va., Nov. 7, 1862. 

Hon. John Slidell : 

MY DEAR SIR, Your communication to the President, and in answer 
to my letter of inquiry, with regard to the negotiation of our cotton 
bonds under the provisions of the act of August, has been referred to me 
and read with much interest. By the same dispatch I have a letter from 
Mr. Mason on the same subject. 

It is not surprising to me that our securities as authorized by the act 
of Congress are in demand among the bankers and capitalists of Eng 
land and on the continent. The provisions of the act, however, does not 
give to me the authority to do so, or I would avail myself of this oppor 
tunity to place the greater part, if not the entire amount of the bonds 
in foreign markets provided this can be done at par, or near the par 
value of the bonds in specie. It is now evident that our struggle 
for independence is to be protracted through at least another year, 
and in anticipation of the "uncertain future," to which you refer, it 
would be well for us to increase the credit of our government in Europe 
to the largest possible sum. Granting that I should be mistaken, and 
that the next year or six months, should bring to an end our struggle by 
a recognition of the independence of the Confederacy, a surplus to our 
credit in Europe would greatly aid in an adjustment of our finances. 

The act of Congress authorizing the loan evidently provides for fund 
ing a part of our outstanding indebtedness in these bonds. This will 
absorb so much of the loan that I fear I will not be authorized to offer 
more than fifteen or twenty millions in the markets of Europe. Congress 
will soon be in session, and then I will endeavor to have the act so 
amended as to relieve all doubt as to the authority of the Secretary of 
the Treasury in the premises. 

A special messenger will take over the bonds to our financial agent, 
who will doubtless confer with you on the matter of their negotiation. 

Very respectfully, 
(Signed) C. G. MEMMINGER, 

Secretary of the Treasury. 

In his official report of January 10, 18G3, addressed to 
Hon. T. S. Bgcock, Speaker, House of Representatives, C. 



360 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

S. A., referring to these cotton loan bonds, Mr. Memminger 
uses the following language : 

It is in my judgment advisable that we should improve the present 
opportunity to largely increase our specie credits in Europe. As a step 
in this direction I have sent a large amount of the cotton loan bonds, 
authorized by the act of the last Congress, to our financial agent at Paris, 
for negotiation, and am advised that they are in demand at the monied 
centers of Europe. The provisions of the act authorizing this loan are 
somewhat ambiguous. It is not clear as to whether Congress intended 
that these bonds should be used in funding treasury notes, or that they 
should be used in making a foreign loan. I recommend that the act be 
so amended that the bonds provided for may be used for largely in 
creasing the amount of our specie deposits; also that the rate at which 
cotton shall be taken, in payment of the coupons of these bonds, when 
due, shall be reduced to sixpence, and that the option remain as now 
provided, with the holder to receive cotton at the price per pound, or 
coin, as he may elect. AVith this amendment to the act I am assured 
that purchasers for a large amount of these bonds can readily be found 
in the markets of Europe. 

Again, in his report to Congress, December 7, 1863, refer- 
ing to these bonds, Mr. Memminger says : 

It is not clear what was the design of Congress in authorizing these 
bonds. The first law passed was in connection with the funding act, 
and the coupons were thereby made payable at the option of the holder 
of the bond in coin, or cotton valued at eight pence sterling per pound. 
The object of this law was obviously to provide means for raising money 
abroad, and after it was passed, I recommended that the rate at which 
the cotton was to be taken should be reduced to six pence, or the aver 
age price at Liverpool before the war. At this rate purchasers could 
have been procured at any time before the fall of Vicksburg. 

The amendment, which was made to the law by Congress, reduced 
the price, as proposed, but shifted the option of being paid in cotton 
from the purchaser to the government. This converted the bond, in the 
view of an European purchaser, into a single six per cent, money bond, 
with the interest payable here. The absence of the right to require 
cotton for the bonds took away their availableness in the foreign 
markets, etc. ...... 

[See Appendix.] 

I deem these records the highest evidence of what Mr. 
Memminger s views of the financial policy of the govern- 



FINANCIAL POLICY. 361 

ment really were, and of his actions, as the financial ex^ 
ecutive of that government, Baron Erlanger, the banker 
and broker, nevertheless to the contrary. 

There is scarcely anything easier for some to do than to 
criticise the acts of others, after an emergency has transpired, 
and to censure is, unhappily, so much a characteristic of our 
humanity that we readily find those who can fix upon some 
one the responsibility for a failure so disastrous as was the 
war between the States. A true history of the facts is the 
best criticism of measures or of statesmanship. Before this 
tribunal C. G. Memminger may safely appear. 

While it is not my purpose to discuss the financial policy 
of Mr. Memminger with the object in view of adding to the 
strength of the vindication made by his own words and acts 
against criticisms made designedly by some, or through 
ignorance by others, I deem it but an act of simple justice 
to the worthy Secretary, and due to the truth of history, that 
I should here notice a reflection which is apparently made 
by President Davis in his work, "Rise and Fall of the Confed 
erate Government." Referring to the condition of the Con 
federate finances in 1863, Mr. Davis, on page 491, Vol. I., 
uses this language : 

The evil effects of this financial condition were but too apparent. In 
addition to the difficulty presented to the necessary operations of the 
government and the efficient conduct of the war, the most deplorable of 
all its results was undoubtedly its corrupting influence on the morals of 
the people. The possession of large amounts of treasury notes led to a 
desire for investment, and with a constantly increasing volume of cur 
rency there was an equally constant increase of price in all objects of 
investment. This effect stimulated purchase by the apparent certainty 
of profit, and a spirit of speculation w r as thus fostered, which had so de 
basing an influence and such ruinous consequences that it became our 
highest duty to remove the cause by prompt and stringent measures. 

I, therefore, recommended to Congress in December, 1863, the com 
pulsory reduction of the currency to the amount required by the busi 
ness of the country, accompanied by a pledge that under no stress of 
circumstances would the amount be increased. I stated that if the cur 
rency was not greatly and promptly reduced, the existing scale of inflated 



362 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

prices would not only continue, but, by the very fact of the large 
amounts thus made requisite in the conduct of the war, these prices 
would reach rates still more extravagant, and the whole system would 
fall under its own weight, rendering the redemption of the debt impossi 
ble and destroying its value in the hands of the holder. If, on the con 
trary, a funded debt, with interest secured by adequate taxation, could 
be substituted for the outstanding currency, its entire amount would be 
made available to the holder, and the government would be in a condi 
tion beyond the reach of any probable contingency to prosecute the war 
to a successful issue. 

The effect of this language is to convey the impression that 
there was a radical defect in the financial policy of the gov 
ernment, which, besides threatening the destruction of the 
Confederate credits, was " corrupting in its influence on the 
morals of the people," and that the President, perceiving 
this to be the case, by his unaided intervention, in the form 
of recommendations to Congress, unsuggested by the finan 
cial officer of the government, had induced the legislation of 
February, 1864, which remedied the evil. 

I cannot believe nor do I charge that Mr. Davis would at 
tempt to add to his own reputation as a financier, or to his 
fame as a statesman, by depriving a self-sacrificing Cabinet 
officer of the credit due him, or that he would designedly 
seek to make of him a scape-goat for the errors of his admin 
istration. I prefer rather to believe that the weakness of 
the President, a pardonable egotism, captured- his pen in 
this instance, and gave a form of expression to his thought, 
which with the Secretary s reports before him he would have 
at least modified to the extent of recognizing the source 
from whence his suggestions were derived. 

Upon an examination of the reports of the Secretary in 
the Appendix to this volume, it will be seen that he not only 
anticipated the difficulties to which Mr. Davis refers, but had 
repeatedly called the attention of Congress to them. From 
his report of January 10, 1863, I take the following : 

By a law as invariable as any law of physical nature, prices rise or 
fall with the actual volume of the whole currency. Neither skill nor 



FINANCIAL POLICY. 363 

power can vary the result. It is in fact a relation existing between two 
numbers, the one representing the total values of property and the 
other the total circulating medium. The nature of that medium can 
not change it. It would exist with a currency of gold with as much cer 
tainty as with one of paper, if the gold were kept within the country by 
restraints equal to those which retain the paper. Prices will 
reach the height adjusted by the scale of issue, and they can only be re 
stored to their usual condition by a return to the normal standard of 
currency. In other words, the only remedy for an inflated currency is a 
reduction of the circulating medium. Is this reduction prac 

ticable ? Before answering the question it is important that we should 
be fully assured of the excessive issue of paper currency. If the coun 
try was open to foreign intercourse, the difference in value between 
coin and paper money would at once afford a test. But in the present 
condition of trade coin cannot be imported and gold and silver have be 
come articles of commerce like iron and lead. They cannot, therefore, 
take their usual place as absolute measures of value. 

After proceeding to show that other tests such as bills of 
exchange, commodities in general use, and of which there 
was a scarcity, and even real estate could not, under the 
existing state of affairs, be made a standard of values; and 
as such a test by which to determine the excess of the paper 
currency of the country, the Secretary proceeds to state, in 
his usual clear and concise manner, that "the remedy which 
is required, in order to be effective, must therefore withdraw 
two-thirds of the entire volume of the currency. 
At the last session of Congress an effort was made by me to 
attain this result by the proposal for a loan of one-fifth of 
all gross income, to .be paid in treasury notes, in exchange 
for bonds. The adoption of this measure would have retired 
a large amount of treasury notes at an early period, and 
would have checked the advance of prices. It is the mis 
fortune of every such failure that it leaves the evils increas 
ing at a double ratio, and subsequent remedies must be so 
much the more stringent. All the causes of excess continue 
in full operation. The conditions, then, which 
any sufficient remedy must fulfil, are, first, prompt, and sec 
ondly, effective reduction." 



364 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

Again, in his report December 7, 1863, the month and 
year referred to by President Davis, in referring to the enor 
mous sum expressed in the several estimates of expenses 
made by the several departments of the government, he 
says : " If these estimates are to be supplied by new issues 
of currency prices must again increase, and large additions 
must be made to the figures which represent both currency 
and estimates. * * It is obvious that some other mode 
of raising supplies must be devised, and the necessity is 
equally obvious of reducing the volume of the currency. 
. . In a former report it was shown that one hundred 
and fifty millions of dollars was probably the amount of 
currency which could be put in circulation, under existing 
circumstances, in the Confederate States, without material 
derangement of values. The currency in circulation when 
the estimates for the ensuing year were made up was very 
near four times that amount ; and it may be fairly assumed 
that the prices were then nearly four times what they would 
have been if the currency had been restored to its original 
condition. A reduction of the currency, then, should be a 
preliminary measure." .... Continuing, he says : 
" Thus are we fairly confronted with the three difficulties to 
be surmounted : 1. The currency must be reduced ; 2. The 
supplies must be raised ; 3. The measures to attain these 
ends must be prompt and certain." 

These extracts are sufficient to show to the reader the real 
source from whence emanated the financial policy mentioned 
by President Davis. I commend the careful study of the 
reports of the Secretary to those who would thoroughly 
comprehend the system adopted by him of issuing treasury 
notes, and funding, in interest-bearing bonds, a sufficient 
amount of these to keep the currency at a normal relation 
with a legitimate measure of value. This plan of Mr. Mem- 
minger s was adopted, some time after he had successfully 
followed it, by Mr. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury of the 



FINANCIAL POLICY. 365 

United States. The advantages which Secretary Chase had 
of open ports and free commercial exchanges with European 
powers enabled him to accomplish results which were only 
impossible to Mr. Memminger because of the absence of 
conditions essential to the maintenance of the Confederate 
credit. If the writer may be permitted to do so, he would 
also suggest to certain political economists, who are now 
advocating an indefinite expansion of the currency of the 
United States, that the study of the reports of Mr. Mem 
minger to the Confederate Congress will give them an answer 
to their theories, not only logical and perfect, but which has 
been approved by the experience of ages. 

I do not deem it necessary to give in more extended de 
tail than I have presented the incidents or facts connected 
with the administration of Mr. Memminger, as Secretary of 
the Confederate Treasury. These I could not give from 
any personal knowledge of or relation to them, later than 
the expiration of the Provisional government on the 18th 
of February, 1862, when I resigned my office as Chief Clerk 
and entered the army. Nor would it be other than redun 
dancy with the reports of the Secretary appended to this 
work. The almost superhuman work which he had under 
taken continued to increase with its burdens of responsi 
bility, and in many instances, with its vexatious annoyances. 
Finally, Mr. Memminger could stand these no longer, and 
on the 14th day of June, 1864, addressed the following let 
ter of resignation to the President : 

TREASURY DEPARTMENT, RICHMOND, June 15, 1864. 
His Excellency, the President: 

SIR, You have been aware for several months past of my desire to 
withdraw from my present official position and of the reasons which re 
strained me from so doing. With an earnest purpose to devote to the 
service of my country during the perils which surround her, whatever 
faculties I may possess, I had nevertheless perceived that the enormous 
burdens imposed on the Treasury by a war on so vast a scale, and the 
difficulty of sustaining them had given rise to discontent and to distrust 



366 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

in the abifcty of the officer administering the financial department. To 
the elements of dissatisfaction was added another more grave, and 
arising from essential differences in the plans submitted by the head of 
the Department and those adopted by Congress. 

In this condition of things it would seem to have been proper to 
have resigned my office as soon as Congress had passed its judgment 
against the plans which I had submitted. 

Two considerations, however, prevented. The first was a repug 
nance to any act which could be construed into an abandonment of 
a post of duty assigned to me during a struggle in which I felt that 
every citizen owed to his country whatever sacrifice or service was de 
manded of him. The financial plan, which was finally adopted by the 
last Congress, had been uncertain until the end of the session. It was not 
matured until the two Houses had referred the matter to a committee of 
conference, and it became a law only on the last day of the session. The 
machinery which was required for its operation was complex and exten 
sive, and by the terms of the law, just forty days were allowed to carry 
it into complete effect. No new head of the Department, however com 
petent, would have been able to acquire sufficient knowledge of office 
details in time to have carried out the provisions of this act. The public 
good, therefore, demanded that I should not leave my post during this 
period. 

The second consideration which prevented was the unwillingness I 
felt to leave you in opposition to your desire, while you honored me 
with such confidence as you have manifested, and while your whole 
energies were still taxed by the great and varied responsibilities attend 
ant upon the office in which Providence has placed you. These consid 
erations now no longer govern. The first is at an end. The funding of 
the currency has been nearly completed and the entire machinery re 
quired by the plans of Congress for taxes and finance is now in full 
operation. No public interest will suffer by my now giving place to a 
successor. The second consideration must yield to the conviction that 
justice to myself and the public, requires me to insist on your acceptance 
of the resignation which I now tender in the hope that you will be suc 
cessful in choosing a successor whose views shall harmonize with those 
of Congress, and who may, on that account, be better able (none can be 
more earnestly desirous) than I have been to do valuable service 
to our country. 

I confess, sir, that I cannot, without deep emotion, separate from you 
and my colleagues in the Cabinet. Neither can I do so without bearing 
testimony that never in the utmost freedom of confidential intercourse 
have I heard one word or suggestion indicating aught else but a consci 
entious and disinterested desire to do what was best for the country. It 
had, been my hope that ere our official connection terminated our coun 
try would be in full fruition of the peace and independence for which she 



FINANCIAL POLICY. 367 

has paid so costly a price, and that you, sir, would have enjoyed in the 
spectacle of her happiness and prosperity the only reward you seek for 
the ceaseless cares and labors devoted to her service. Though this may 
not now be, I shall not cease in private life to give my warm co-operation 
in whatever may conduce to the consummation so ardently desired. 

I need scarcely add, Mr. President, that while desiring to be relieved 
at as early a period as may be practicable, my services remain freely at 
your disposal until you shall have selected my successor in office. 

With heartfelt wishes for your health, happiness and prosperity, I re- 
main, with the highest respect and esteem, 

(Signed) Your obedient servant, 0. G. MEMMINGER. 

To this letter of resignation the President replied as fol 
lows : 

RICHMOND, VA., June 21, 1864. 

To Hon. C. G. Memminger, Secretary Confederate States Treasury, Pdch* 

mond, Va. : 

DEAR SIR, I have received your letter of the 15th instant stating the 
grounds on which you deem that justice to yourself and to the public 
requires you to urge my acceptance of your resignation. 

Some months since you expressed a desire to retire, for the reason 
that in your belief the public service would be promoted by the appoint 
ment of a successor whose views of financial policy accorded better than 
your own with the legislation then lately adopted. I knew the extreme 
difficulty of conducting the Treasury Department during the pending 
struggle. I was aware that any officer, however competent, must prob 
ably fail to escape the animadversions of those who are ready to attri 
bute to inefficient administration the embarrassment due to legislation 
not adapted to the existing circumstances. The experience acquired by 
you in the organization and management of the Department could not 
be immediately replaced, and for these reasons I was satisfied that the 
general welfare would be injuriously affected by your withdrawal at that 
time. You have now at least the consolation and satisfaction to know 
that your personal wishes were surrendered to a conviction of public 
duty. Recent events do not warrant me in refusing your renewed re 
quest that I should accept your resignation. The regret you express at 
the prospect of our official separation is sincerely shared by me. From 
your entrance on the duties of your office, I have observed and appreci 
ated the cheerful and unremitting devotion of all your faculties to the 
public service, and do not fail to remember that it was at the sacrifice of 
your private inclinations that you continued to fulfil the arduous duties 
of your post. 

The offer you make of your services until your successor can assume 
office is in the same patriotic spirit and is accepted as thankfully as it 



368 LIFE A$D TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

is generously tendered. At as early a period as practicable I will en 
deavor to comply with your request to be relieved. 

With my grateful acknowledgment for your past assistance and 
for your very kind expressions of personal regard be assured of the cor 
dial esteem with which I am your friend. 

(Signed) JEFFERSON DAVIS. 

When Mr. Memminger s resignation became known he 
not only received many letters cordially expressing regrets 
and the high esteem in which he was held, from the lead 
ing public men and financiers of the South, but with a re 
markable unanimity the press especially of Richmond, Va. ; 
Charleston, S. C., and Montgomery, Ala. were without stint 
in the expressions of high encomiums upon his merits as 
a man and his devotion to the duties of his office. I extract 
the folio wing from the Richmond (Va.) Sentinel, among the 
many, I find with Mr. Memminger s private papers : 

The following correspondence gives confirmation to what has been 
for some time generally understood, that Hon. C. G. Memminger had 
asked to be relieved from the duties which for more than three years he 
had so faithfully, diligently and ably discharged as Secretary of the 
Treasury. The tributes mutually paid by the parties to the correspond 
ence show the high regard and the just estimate which they have always 
entertained each for the other. Mr. Memminger has had a most labo 
rious and difficult position to fill one which demanded the sympathy 
and generous support of every patriot. He has been in a considerable 
measure, however, the target of factionists and determined fault-finders, 
and has been impeded in his public duties by the clamor which they 
have excited. But those wlio know him best will say, as history will 
say, that no Republic ever had a more faithful public servant, or one 
who more diligently devoted his high capacity, regardless of sacrifice 
and of personal comfort, to the service of his country. He has well 
earned the cordial thanks of the Confederacy. 

No one was more ready to appreciate a sincerely expressed 
criticism of his public course than Mr. Memminger, and 
when assured in his own mind of his rectitude and approved 
by his conscious sense of self-respect, no one was less affected 
by either the adulations of a sycophant or the captious ob 
jections of mere fault-finders. 



FINANCIAL POLICY. 369 

There were thousands of these latter people to be found all 
over the South, who would offer no suggestion for the remedy 
of evils, but who believed these to result from an unwise ad 
ministration, without a knowledge of the facts with which 
the executive had to contend. 

It may be readily inferred that but few men capable of 
filling the office Mr. Memminger had resigned would have 
the temerity to assume so grave a responsibility and under 
such trying circumstances. The faithful Secretary was per 
fectly sincere in the expressions made in his letter of resig 
nation. He was then, as he had ever been, a patriot, ready 
to devote his energies to the service of his country; and, as a 
patriot, he would not attempt to perform an office, when, in 
his judgment, the service required of him was not such as he 
believed would redound to the public good. Perfectly un 
selfish, and free from a vain ambition that would prompt him 
to maintain a position when he knew the ends desired by 
Congress could not be reached by the methods adopted, he 
cheerfully resigned his office, hoping, even against hope, 
that some one could be found who would be wise enough to 
maintain the credit of the Confederacy in spite of the vicious 
policy forced upon the Treasury Department by the legisla 
tion of Congress. In the conduct of the Treasury Depart 
ment, especially in devising the general financial policy in 
augurated by him at the outset of the government, Mr. 
Memminger had freely conferred with the leading business 
men of the South. With none had he consulted more fully 
than with Mr. George A. Trenholm, of the great house of 
Fraser, Trenholm & Co., of Charleston, S. C. Mr. Tren- 
holm s reputation in the sphere in which he had been en 
gaged was widely known, and his skill fully appreciated by 
Mr. Memminger, who knew him to be among the best of the 
financiers of Charleston. Under the circumstances, his 
selection as the successor of Mr. Memminger was to a great 
24 



370 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

extent an endorsement of the general policy pursued by the 
Secretary, which, if possible, made more emphatic the com 
pliment of the President in his letter accepting his resigna 
tion. 

As soon as Mr. Trenholm was properly installed in office 
and was made familiar with the general details of the depart-. 
ment, Mr. Memminger retired to his inviting country seat at 
Flat Rock, North Carolina, to enjoy a release from the official 
cares that had long* burdened his mind and taxed his physi 
cal strength. While his residence in Richmond was a cen 
ter of social attraction, and in its circle he found a degree of 
release from his official duties, it was not until these respon 
sibilities had been transferred entirely to another, and he 
was free to enjoy a well-merited rest from his almost super 
human labors, that he experienced that happiness which is 
the reflex of duty well discharged the "mens sibi conscia 
recti" 

Mr. Memminger had been among the first of the seaboard 
gentlemen to perceive the natural beauties and attractive 
ness of the Flat Rock region of western North Carolina. 
There was much to attract him among the grand mountains, 
in the limpid streams, the clear skies and charming land 
scapes of this section, and here, with Judge King, of Charles 
ton, he was among the pioneers who as far back as 1835 or 
1840 began the establishment of summer homes, as places 
of refuge from the heat and malaria of the sea coast. Here 
he improved " Rock Hill" and made it a place of rest, and 
for many years it became bis loved mountain home. To its 
natural attractions he had added year after year the elegant 
adornments of a cultivated taste, until " Rock Hill " became 
an estate and a sweet home, of which he was justly proud, 
and to which he was much attached. To this home he 
brought with him the anxious solicitude of a patriot, who 
plainly saw coming, with the certainty of a doom he was 
powerless to prevent, the overthrow of his country s hopes, 



RETIRES TO HIS COUNTRY SEAT. 371 

and here, with the loves of his hearthstone about him, he 
waited the inevitable result. 

" Rock Hill " must be seen by the appreciative to be en 
joyed in all of the loveliness of its many attractive features. 
Its lake of pure water, its green sward, its beautiful hills 
and grand forest trees, among which graveled walks and 
carriage drives led up to the seat of a noble hospitality, to 
a home where all that a refined taste and a cultured mind 
could gather of adornment or secure of comfort. Such was 
" Rock Hill," an earthly Paradise to Mr. Memminger, a 
sweet retreat from all the clamor and clatter of the world. 

" How blest is he who crowns in shades like these, 
A youth of labor with an age of ease." 

The last scenes in the terrible drama of war were now 
being enacted. 

Laocoon was at last in the toils of the serpent. 

Richmond was being invested by an army immensely 
superior to the Confederate forces in numbers and in equip 
ment, and Sherman was marching with his unopposed 
legions to the rear of General Lee. Under these circum 
stances, Mr. Memminger did not deem it prudent to take 
his family to his home in Charleston, which had welcomed 
his coming in the past with each return of the winter s 
frost. He remained at " Rock Hill," and was there informed 
of the surrender of General Leo s decimated army, and the 
triumph of Sherman at Bentonville. Here he received the 
decree of a fate he knew to be coming, but which as far as 
his personal security was involved, he could only surmise. 

For some months after the cessation of hostilities every 
section of the South was more or less overrun with Federal 
troops, who were in their organizations the evidences of the 
power that had brought the States of the Confederacy to the 
humiliation of defeat. In the majority of instances these 
detachments would support the most arbitrary exactions of 
their commanding officers and were the means by which a 



372 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

system of military government was instituted, which was 
only withdrawn when the vindictive spirit and ill-advised 
policy of the political party in power at Washington city hac( 
transferred the government of the conquered States to adT 
venturers, to unscrupulous local politicians, and to ignorant 
negroes. 

The peaceful seclusion of " Rock Hill " did not escape the 
visits of these soldiers. While subjected to the annoj^ances 
incident to their presence, Mr. Memminger escaped the 
arrest and imprisonment of others who had taken an active 
part in the administration of the Confederate government. 
He was made, however, to suffer in other respects. His res 
idence in Charleston, furnished, and at the time occupied 
by his representatives, was seized, under the pretext of being 
abandoned, by the agent of the " Bureau of Refugees, Freed- 
men and Abandoned Lands." As if to add insult to in 
jury a grim satire was perpetrated by the Commissioner 
of this Bureau in Charleston, who converted this elegant 
home into an "Asylum for negro orphan children," who 
were gathered there in troops irrespective of their claims to 
a legitimate orphanage, and made at home in a mansion 
that had known only the care and the presence of a family 
now ruthlessly denied its many comforts. These evils Mr. 
Memminger bore with a spirit of resignation characteristic 
of the Christian philosophy that had been his stay under all 
circumstances of trial. Without yielding to childish re 
grets, he bowed with grace to the inevitable, protesting with 
manly firmness to the government at Washington against 
the action of their agent. 

In the midst of the general gloom that settled upon the 
South and that awakened forebodings of evils to come, 
more serious than had yet overtaken this devoted land, Mr. 
Memminger remained the sincere and earnest patriot. He 
did not cease to exercise his mind in suggesting such a 
course of procedure as he believed would restore prosperity 



RETIRES TO HIS COUNTRY SEAT. 373 

to the country, by preparing the recently liberated negroes 
to assume intelligently the rights of citizenship. It is one 
of the highest evidences of his patriotism that Mr. Memmin- 
ger should under the circumstances surrounding him, have 
forgotten his personal interests and safety in seeking to re 
lieve the distress of his people. While others had sought 
safety for themselves in flight, and remained in security 
under the protection of foreign flags, he not only remained 
to share the fate of his people, but he volunteered in their 
behalf the wisdom of his counsel, which even his enemies in 
the light of a sad experience, must admit to have been as 
philosophic as the motives inspiring them were unselfish 
and patriotic. On the 4th of September, 1865, while the 
political status of the negro was under discussion in Con 
gress he addressed the following communication to Presi 
dent Johnson : 

FLAT ROCK, September 4, 1865.; 
To His Excellency Andrew Johnson, President of the United States : 

Every Southern man is so deeply interested in the great questions 
of public policy which are now under your consideration that it w r ill 
scarcely be deemed officious in one of them to offer you some suggestions, 
if made solely with a view to the public good. Although I am not per 
sonally known to your Excellency, and at present am under the ban of 
the government, yet I feel assured that your judgment can easily dis 
cern the ring of truth, and will justly appreciate any effort to relieve 
the immense responsibilities which are now pressing upon you. 

I take it for granted that the whole Southern country accepts eman 
cipation from slavery as the condition of the African race ; but neither 
the North nor the South have yet defined what is included in that eman 
cipation. The boundaries are widely apart which mark on the one side, 
political equality with the white race, and on the other a simple recog 
nition of personal liberty. With our own race ages have intervened 
between the advance from one of these boundaries to the other. No 
other people have been able to make equal progress, and many have not 
yet lost sight of the original point of starting. Great Britain has made 
the nearest approach; Russia has just started, and the other nations of 
Europe, after ages of struggle, are yet on the way from one point to the 
other, none of them having yet advanced even to the position attained 
by England. 



374 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

The question now pending is as to the station in this wide interval 
which shall be assigned to the African race. Does that race possess 
qualities, or does it exhibit any peculiar fitness, which will dispense with 
the training which our own race has undergone, and authorize us at once 
to advance them to equal rights ? It seems to me that this point has 
been decided already by the laws of the free States. None of them have 
yet permitted equality ; and the greater part assert the unfitness of 
the African by denying him any participation in political power. 

The country, then, seems prepared to assign this race an inferior 
condition, but the precise nature of that condition is yet to be defined; 
and also the government which shall regulate it. I observe that you 
have already decided, and I think wisely, that the adjustment of the 
right of suffrage belongs to the State governments, and should be left 
there. But this, as well as most of the other questions on this subject, 
rest upon the decision which shall be made upon the mode of organ 
izing the labor of the African race. The Northern people seem generally 
to suppose that the simple emancipation from slavery will elevate the 
African to the condition of the white laboring classes, and that con 
tracts and competition will secure the proper distribution of labor. 
They see on the one hand the owner of land wanting laborers, and on the 
other a multitude of landless laborers without employment; and they 
naturally conclude that the law of supply and demand will adjust the 
exchange in the same manner as it would at the North. But they are 
not aware of the attending circumstances which will disappoint these 
calculations. 

The laborer, in the Southern States, with his whole family occupies 
the houses of his employer, built upon plantations widely separate. 
The employment of a laborer involves the employment and support of 
his whole family. Should the employer be discontent with any laborers 
and desire to substitute others in their place, before he can effect that 
object, he must proceed to turn out the first, with their entire families, 
so as to have houses for their successors. Then he must encounter the 
uncertainty and delay in procuring other laborers; and also the hostil 
ity of the laborers on his plantation, which would probably exhibit 
itself in sympathy with the ejected families and with combinations 
against his interests. Should this occur at any critical period of the 
crop its entire loss would ensue. Nor would his prospects of relief from 
other plantations be hopeful. On them arrangements will have been 
made for the year, and the obstructions of laborers from them would 
result in new disorganizations. The employer would thus be wholly at 
the mercy of the laborer. 

It may be asked why the laborer is more likely to fail in the per 
formance of his contract than his employer? The reasons are obvious. 
The employer, by the possession of property, affords a guarantee by 
which the law can compel his performance. The laborer can offer no such 



RETIRES TO HIS COUNTRY SEAT. 375 

guarantee and nothing is left to control him but a sense of the obliga 
tion of the contract. The force of this remedy depends upon the degree 
of conscientiousness and intelligence attained by the bulk of a people. 

It is well known that one of the latest and most important fruits 
of civilization is a perception of the obligations of contracts. Even in 
cultivated nations, the law must be sharpened at all points to meet the 
efforts to escape from a contract which lias become onerous; and noth 
ing short of a high sense of commercial honor and integrity will secure 
its strict performance. It would be vain under any circumstances to 
count upon such performance from an ignorant and ungoverned popula 
tion. But when that population is, from constitution or habit, pecu 
liarly subject to the vices of an inferior race, nothing short of years of 
education and training can bring about that state of moral rectitude and 
habitual and self-constraint which would secure the regular performance 
of contracts. In the present case to these general causes must be 
added the natural indolence of the African race, and the belief now uni 
versal among them, that they are released from any obligation to labor. 
Under these circumstances the employer would have so little induce 
ments to risk his capital in the hands of the laborer, or to advance 
money for food and working animals in cultivating a crop which when 
reaped would be at the mercy of the laborers, that he will certainly 
endeavor to make other arrangements. The effect will be the abandon 
ment of the negro to his indolent habits and the probable relapse of 
large portions of the country into its original forest condition. The two 
races, instead of exchanging mutual good offices, will inflict mutual evil 
on each other; and the final result must be the destruction or the 
removal of the inferior race. 

The appropriate remedy for these evils evidently points to the 
necessity of training the inferior race; and we are naturally lead to 
look to the means which would be employed by our own race for the 
same purpose. The African is virtually in the condition of the youth, 
whose inexperience and want of skill unfit him for the privileges of 
manhood. He is subjected to the guidance and control of one better in 
formed. He is bound as an apprentice to be trained and directed; and 
is under restraint until he is capable of discharging the duties of 
manhood. 

Such, it seems to me, is the proper instrumentality which sho uld 
now be applied to the African race. The vast body are now substan 
tially in a state of minority, and are incapable of assuming the position 
of proper self-regulation. They have all their lives been subject to the 
control and direction of another, and at present are wholly incapable of 
self-government. Alongside of them are their former masters, fully 
capable of guiding and instructing them, needing their labor, and not 
yet alienated from them in feeling. The great point to be attained is 
the generous application by the one of his superior skill and resources, 



376 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

and their kindly reception by the other. This can be effected only by 
some relation of acknowledged dependence. Let the untrained and in 
capable African be placed under indentures of apprenticeship to his 
former master under such regulations as will secure both parties from 
wrong, and whenever the apprentice shall have obtained the habits and 
knowledge requisite for discharging the duties of a citizen, let him then 
be advanced from youth to manhood, and be placed in the exercise of a 
citizen s rights and the enjoyment of the privileges attending such a 
change. I have no means of procuring here a copy of the laws passed 
by the British Parliament on this subject for the West India Colonies. 
They are founded on this idea of apprenticeship. Such an adjustment 
of the relations of the two races would overcome many difficulties, and 
would enable the emancipation experiment to be made under the most 
favorable circumstances. The experience of the British Colonies would 
afford valuable means for improving the original plans ; and, no doubt, 
the practical common sense of our people can, by amending their errors, 
devise the best possible solution of the problem, and afford the largest 
amount of good to the African race. 

The only question which would remain would be as to the govern 
ment which should enact and administer the laws. Unquestionably the 
jurisdiction under the Constitution of the United States belongs to the 
States. This fact will most probably disincline the Congress to an early 
recognition of the Southern States upon their original footing under the 
Constitution, from the apprehension of harsh measures towards their 
former slaves. The difficulty would be obviated if a satisfactory adjust 
ment could be previously made of the footing upon which the two races 
are to stand. If, by general agreement, an apprentice system could be 
adopted in some form which would be satisfactory as well as obligatory, 
it seems to me that most of the evils now existing, or soon to arise, 
would be remedied, and that a fair start would be made in the proper 
direction. The details of the plan could be adjusted from the experience 
of the British Colonies, and if it should result in proving the capacity 
of the African race to stand upon the same platform with the white 
man, I doubt not but that the South will receive that conclusion with 
satisfaction fully equal to that of any other State- 
All of which is respectfully submitted, in the hope that laying aside 
all passion such an adjustment of this most important matter may be 
reached as in the end will be to the mutual good of both races, and 
advance, rather than retard, a return of prosperity to our country. 

I am not aware that this communication was answered by 
President Johnson at least I can find no record of the fact 
among the papers of Mr. Memminger. The fact of history 
is that the Republican party, then in power, inflamed in 



RETIRES TO HIS COUNTRY SEAT. 377 

passion and controlled by a fanatical sentiment, not only 
prepared articles of impeachment against President John 
son for his alleged treasonable sympathy with the South, but 
passed the civil-rights bill, conferring all the rights of citi_ 
zenship upon the liberated slaves, irrespective of their fitness 
for the exercise of these functions, or of their " past condi 
tion of servitude." 

"With the cheering presence of his loved family circle, the 
entertainment of his library, and in correspondence with 
friends, there was at " Rock Hill " enough to engage the 
mind of Mr. Memminger and to bring a sweet solace to the 
disappointed hopes of the patriot. When not engaged with 
the details of his farm, he could always find about his 
hearthstone the superior joys of a noble, true life, and in 
the sympathies of his friends a consolation appreciated by 
him because of the sincerity of their expressions. 

Among his letters received during the fall and winter of 
1865, I find the following from General Lee, which gives a 
beautiful illustration of the character of the great chieftain, 
while it evidences his personal regard for Mr. Memminger: 

LEXINGTON, 27th November, 1865. 
Hon. C. G. Memminger : 

MY DEAE SIR, Your letter of the 7th instant only reached me a few 
days since and has given me sincere pleasure. I have often thought of 
you in your distant home, with the prayerful hope that a kind Provi 
dence would shield you and yours from all evil, and I am truly glad to 
know that our merciful God has kept you under the shadow of His wing 
and has returned to you unharmed your brave sons. 

Although our losses have been great, we have yet much to be grateful 
for, and since they have been permitted by Him who ordereth all things 
for our good, so I am assured it will be proved in this instance if we be 
but patient and faithful to the end. 

Your kind sympathy and continued friendship are very cheering to 
me, and I trust I may be enabled to fulfill here the same purpose which 
has governed me in my previous life to do the good I could to my State 
and country. If I can accomplish this it matters but little in what posi 
tion I may be. 

I hope your house at Charleston may soon be restored to you and 
that a new field of usefulness be opened to you and your sons theresto- 



378 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

ration and advancement of the South. May your efforts be abundantly 
blessed. I have been unable as yet to have my family with me, but I 
hope to accomplish it next month, at least so far as Mrs. Lee and some 
of my daughters are concerned. We are much scattered. My son Cus- 
tis is one of the professors at the Virginia Military Institute, and is, 
therefore, near me. He joins me in kindest regards to yourself and 
family, and I send my special remembrances to Mrs. Memminger and 
your daughters. 

With great respect and undiminished esteem, 

I am most truly yours, 
(Signed) R. E. LEE. 

It was some time before the devoted city of Charleston 
could resume her commercial relations with the interior of 
the United States and with the seaports of the world. Be 
yond and far in excess of the terrible damage to the city, by 
a long bombardment and a demoralizing war, was the pres 
ence of those in her midst, who, following the successful 
armies, were seeking in every possible manner to humiliate 
the proud spirit of her citizens by subjecting them to the 
government of their former slaves, and who, under the sanc 
tion of forces impossible then to resist, were administering a 
State and municipal government that destroyed every legiti 
mate basis of credit in the extravagance of the most licen 
tious legislation. Mr. Memminger longed to return to his 
home in the stricken city. His friends there were needing 
his advice and required his legal experience to direct them 
in their troubles. To his natural desire to resume the duties 
of citizenship, which he had to an extent suspended when he 
entered the Confederate service, was added the necessity of 
providing a better income than could be secured from the 
wreck of his former fortune. 

He had applied to the Federal authorities for the restora 
tion of his home, which in no sense had been abandoned by 
him, and for this reason was not subject to the unrighteous 
sequestration law under which it had been appropriated by 
the "Frecdmen s Bureau/ 1 He had also applied for a " par- 



RETIRES TO HIS COUNTRY SEAT. 379 

don," under the provisions of the act of Congress requiring 
all persons who were the owners of twenty thousand dollars 
worth of real and personal property, "and who had engaged 
in the rebellion against the United States," to receive, upon 
the approval of the President, a pardon, without which they 
were incapable of engaging in business transactions or exer 
cising the rights of citizenship. 



CHAPTER VIII. 
to privat<? Life J-lis D<?atl?. 




|HE memorial of Mr. Memminger, praying to be 
admitted to the benefits of the amnesty procla 
mation of President Johnson, distinctly sets forth 
the reasons that induced him to enter the service of the 
Confederate States, and why he now desired to be restored 
to the rights of a citizen in the United States. It is in these 
words : 

To His Excellency Andrew Johnson, President of the United States : 

The memorial of C. G. Memminger, of South Carolina, respectfully 
showeth 

That your memorialist is excluded from the benefit of the amnesty 
proclamation of the President of the United States under two of the ex 
ceptions made therein namely, that which excepts persons who held 
office under the late Confederate government, and that which excludes 
persons whose property exceeded twenty thousand dollars in value. 

Your memorialist engaged in the late war with the United States 
under the conviction that his duty to the State of South Carolina, of 
which he was a citizen, required him to do so. That State in the year of 
1834, by a convention of her people, asserted thQ doctrine that paramount 
allegiance was due to her, and by an amendment of her Constitution re 
quired a corresponding oath from her citizens, which oath your memo 
rialist has been repeatedly required to take as a public officer. In 
1851 another convention asserted the right to secede from the Union, 
and in 1860 that assertion was practically put in operation by an ordi 
nance of secession. In 1865 the State by another convention has re 
pealed this ordinance and resumed her place in the Union, and by a 
change of the State Constitution has receded from the position taken in 
1834 and in 1851, and thereby relieves her citizens from the conflicting 
duties of obedience to the Federal and State authorities. Under these 
circumstances your memorialist, with the same sincerity and conviction 
of duty which has hitherto governed him, respectfully proffers his sub 
mission to the authorities of the United States, and hereby declares 

[ 380 ] 



RETURN TO PRIVATE LIFE. 381 

his readiness to discharge the duties of a citizen of the United States. 
He has accordingly taken the oath required by the amnesty proclama 
tion, a copy whereof is hereunto annexed, and respectfully prays that 
the benefits of the said amnesty may be extended to him, and that he 
may be admitted to all the privileges of a citizen of the United States; 
and your memorialist will ever pray, etc. 

Pending the consideration of this memorial the home of 
Mr. Memminger in Charleston continued to be occupied by 
the Freedmen s Bureau. Time and again he had applied 
for its restoration without avail. Finally, and as the result 
of an appeal to the President and to his Secretary of State, 
Mr. Seward, orders were issued to the Commissioner at 
Charleston to provide another place for the negro "orphan" 
children and restore Mr. Memminger to his property " at a 
reasonable rental until the decision of the President shall be had 
with regard to his pardon." This " pardon " finally came, 
and Mr. Memminger was fully restored to all of his " rights, 
immunities and privileges " as a citizen of the United States. 

I give the order of the Commissioner restoring him to the 
possession of his home as one of the curiosities of that period. 

HEADQUARTERS ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER 
BUREAU REFUGEES, FREEDMEN AND ABANDONED LANDS, SOUTH CAROLINA, 

Charleston, S. C., January 7, 1867. 

C. G. Memminger, an applicant for the restoration of house and lot, 
corner of Wentworth and Smith streets, Charleston, S. C., held by the 
"Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands," having con 
formed to the requirements of Circular 15, of said Bureau, dated Wash 
ington, D. C., September 12, 1865, the aforesaid property is hereby re 
stored to his possession; it being understood that such restoration does 
not include the rents or other profits that may have accrued to the 
United States government during the time the said property has been 
in his possession, and that the aforesaid C. G. Memminger relinquishes 
all claims against the United States government for damages. 

By direction of the War Department this property is restored subject 
to the present occupancy of the premises for military purposes. 
(Signed) R. K. SCOTT, 

Brevet Major-General, Assistant Commissioner. 

If the presence of this order from one who was notorious 
in South Carolina for his method of filling his purse should 



382 LIFE AND TIMES Off C. G. MEMMINGER. 

mar this page, it is nevertheless a historic document, and 
will give to the reader one of the many "forms of law" by 
which our helpless people were deprived of their property, 
&nd in some instances, were reduced to actual want. 

It was not long after this order was issued before the lib 
eral application of disinfectants with the painter s brush 
and the mechanic s skill had made the dear old home again 
to look as in days of yore, and the happy family were once 
more gathered together at its fireside altars. 

Mr. Memminger rejoined his faithful partner, Mr. Wil 
liam Jervey, and commenced again the active practice of 
law. Returning to the responsibilities which, for some 
time, he had to a great extent, transferred to his faithful 
partner, Mr. Memminger found him at his post of duty 
ready to aid him in labors inseparable from the proper dis 
charge of professional obligations. Beyond the friendly 
regard, which a long and pleasant relation had engendered, 
Mr. Memminger was much attached to Mr. Jervey. His in 
tegrity as a man, and many manly virtues, had, by a moral 
law of affinity, drawn these good men together in relations 
that had assumed the closest friendship. Mr. Memminger 
was not one of those whose confidence could be easily won, 
and was seldom mistaken in his estimate of character. As 
his respect for the revealed character of an individual grew 
his friendship slowly, but certainly followed ; the one pre 
ceded the other as a cause goes before an effect. I can best 
give the reader an outline of the character of Mr. Jervey 
by extracting from the proceedings of the "Bar Associa 
tion " of Charleston, the address of Mr. Memminger, as re 
ported in the Charleston Daily News, of September 15, 1870, 
It is as follows : 

Colonel C. G. Memminger introduced the following preamble and 
resolutions, and spoke in the most glowing terms of Mr. Jervey. His 
words were beautifully chosen, and showed that he keenly felt the loss 
of his friend and colleague of thirty years, during the whole of which 



*, - J 

.f:,. .-. - 



*)^r% #* 

tV : s v.t^ 

v> * ,- 



,i.C 



-M 

*; 



;:*:sm 




, ^ ,-v 



RETURN TO PRIVATE LIFE. 383 

time he had been intimately associated with him in all of the most try 
ing relations of life, and had never once known him to use an unkind tone 
or word. Like a ripe shock of corn he has been gathered. It grieves me to 
lose so true a friend, yet I would not call him back for one moment. 
The eminent characteristic of this good man was purity. He honestly 
used all the means God gave him to cultivate his intellect. Those who 
come hereafter may point to his record and say, "This is the man to im 
itate." Another one of the ancient and most highly revered members 
of our brotherhood has been taken from us, and we are here met to de 
plore our loss and to record our estimate of his worth. William Jervey, 
who has moved among us for more than thirty-five years, the pattern 
of professional excellence and the example of private virtue, has fin 
ished his course, and was called to rest on Friday last, the 9th instant. 
The loss is ours, the gain is his. 

The influence and example of such a man are of inestimable value. 
Every member of our profession who has been brought in contact with 
him will bear testimony to the parity of his character, his unfailing 
courtesy and watchful kindness. His motives of action were so trans 
parent that no single spot obscured their beauty ; perfectly single-minded 
and sincere, his straight-forward integrity impressed all that had busi 
ness relations with him, and his high-toned truthfulness inspired entire 
confidence. To all this were added a mildness and readiness to impart 
knowledge, which drew to him his younger brethren, and there are 
many around me who will deplore his removal as the loss of a friend 
and a brother. 

Although well qualified by position, attainments and character to 
take part in public life, he steadfastly avoided all public office and de 
voted himself to the duties of his profession. Nevertheless, as an indi 
vidual citizen, he was always ready to take his place wherever duty 
called, and although not obtrusive, was ever firm and consistent. His 
integrity was combined with that generosity of nature, which, while it 
soared entirely above the region of wrong, was always ready to make 
allowance for and to forgive the weakness of others. Kindness and 
charity were his daily companions, and the symmetry of his character 
was completed by Christian consistency : therefore, 

Resolved, That in the death of William Jervey the Bar of Charles 
ton has lost one of its most cherished and respected members. 

Resolved, That the purity, integrity, and excellence of character of 
the deceased stand forth a conspicuous monument of the virtues of the 
Charleston Bar. 

It may be assumed that a law firm, having at its head one 
possessing his knowledge and experience, and who was so 
widely known and respected as was Mr. Memniinger, would 
not be without a good clientage. 




384 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

For many years preceding the revolution that had drawn 
him into its vortex, he had been in the front rank of the 
many eminent men who had made the Bar of Charleston 
and of South Carolina distinguished for its high character, 
and was justly regarded as authority on all questions of com 
mercial law. The deranged condition of all business 
affairs, and especially the changed relations between master 
and servant, brought about by the unwise and vindictive 
legislation of the Federal Congress, had brought to ruin many 
large estates, while the local and State governments had so 
depressed the commerce of Charleston that the good lawyer 
found more than ever to engage his mind, to tax his sympa 
thies, and to consume his time. 

In order to meet these increased labors, Mr. C. C. Pinck- 
ney, Jr., the son-in-law of Mr. Memminger, who had just 
been admitted, was added to the firm on January 1, 1887. 

Between him and Mr. Memminger there always subsisted 
the warmest relations of sympathy and admiration on the 
part of the junior, and confidence and affection on the part 
of the senior. 

The active mind and energetic spirit of Mr. Memminger 
were not to be confined to the routine duties of a lawyer in full 
practice. There were other avenues of enterprise opening 
about him, into which he was drawn by circumstances which 
often bring the lawyer into other relations with the business 
world than those of counsellor and client. 

Immense beds of calcareous nodules, containing numerous 
fossil bones, had long been known to exist in the vicinity of 
Charleston. "While Agassiz, Tuomey, Holmes and other 
geologists had called attention to these deposits, it was not 
until the year 1867 that Dr. N. A. Pratt, of Georgia, then 
resident at Charleston, discovered the large per cent, of 
available phosphate of lime which they contained. He at 
once sought to enlist the capitalists of Charleston in an en 
terprise of manufacturing from these nodules, or "phosphate^ 



RETURN TO PRIVATE LIFE. 385 

rock/ ac he first denominated the deposit, a commercial fer 
tilizer. The history of the great phosphate industry of South 
Carolina is one of the many instances in the history of 
great enterprises where the positive knowledge of science has 
had, for a time, to seek in vain for recognition among those 
whose lack of faith was as great as was their unwillingness to 
use the power of money in the execution of what they believed 
to be no more than a commercial venture. For a time Dr. 
Pratt, despite the positive demonstration of his analysis, met 
only with such objections and skeptical criticisms as evi 
denced a want of confidence in the value of his discovery. 
It was not until May, 1868, that the Doctor brought the mat 
ter to the consideration of Mr. Memminger, whose business 
sagacity, enterprising spirit and well-known integrity in 
duced the formation of a company for the manufacture of 
sulphuric acid and super-phosphates. This company com 
posed of Dr. Pratt, Mr. W. C. Bee, Robert Adger and Mr. 
Memminger; was chartered as the Sulphuric Acid and Super- 
Phosphate Company, which name was later changed to the 
Etiwan Phosphate Company, Mr. Memminger being made 
president and Dr. Pratt the chemist. On the 14th of De 
cember, 1868, the first acid chamber ever built south of Bal 
timore was in full operation. In an interesting article con 
tributed by Dr. Pratt to Dixie, an industrial magazine 
published at Atlanta, Ga., he says that " this was the first 
company in the South to manufacture acid on a commercial 
scale to-wit, 15,000 pounds per day/ and that the manufac 
ture " has continued from that time without interruption." 

The operations of the Etiwan Company, thus launched as 
the pioneer of a grand industry, met with immediate and 
great success. Under the stimulus of this example, many 
others, upon the same plan, sprang rapidly up in its wake. 

Thus was inaugurated, through the sound judgment and 
enterprising spirit of Mr. Memminger, in co-operation with 
25 



386 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

the skill of an eminent chemist, an enterprise which was but 
the forerunner of the many that have added immensely to 
the wealth and commerce of Charleston, while they have 
conferred a great boon upon the planting interests of the 
whole country. From this initial mill of the Etiwan Com 
pany there are now twenty-two companies in active operation 
in the vicinity of Charleston, manufacturing fertilizers and 
employing an aggregate capital of $4,500,000, while others, 
giving employment to many hundred hands, are mining and 
exporting the crude phosphate rock to foreign ports, the 
mines of South Carolina being the leading source of supply of 
phosphate for the world. 

While the cares of his law office and the general supervis 
ion of the company, whose success was to be the precursor 
of a return of prosperity to his loved city, occupied his 
mind, Mr. Memminger was deeply concerned for the welfare 
of his State. Under the provisions of the " civil rights" 
act of Congress and of the fifteenth amendment to the Consti 
tution of the United States, the recently liberated slaves 
were not only enfranchised, but were encouraged to assert 
the rights of citizenship thus conferred upon them in a man 
ner that was constantly provoking the white citizens of the 
State to acts of violence. Under the administration of offi 
cers appointed from a recently victorious army, and who 
were supported in their authority by troops garrisoned 
throughout the State, a government was inaugurated, which 
in every feature was a disgrace to the power that sustained it 
and an outrage on the civilization of the age. 

The vindictive spirit of the party in control of the gov 
ernment of the United States seemed to be exercised in 
order to heap upon the devoted people of South Carolina 
every indignity which malice or passion could suggest. 

Ignorant negroes, inflamed by appeals to their impulsive 
natures, and misled by false arid ridiculous promises, 
elected to every office, from governor to constable, men who 



RETURN TO PRIVATE LIFE. 387 

were either unprincipled adventurers, seeking only to better 
their fortunes, or the debauched native whose licentious 
ness was among the least of his vices, or the ignorant, the 
conceited or reckless among their own race. The capi 
tal of the proud old Commonwealth, where from the ear 
liest colonial days had been reflected the virtues of the Cava 
lier and the Huguenot, hard become the focal point of all 
that was mean, servile, and corrupt. The gown that had 
once been the recognized symbol of dignity, and the vest 
ment of an incorruptible integrity, was unblushingly worn 
in the courts of the State by men whose claim to citizen 
ship dated no farther back than to the coming of an army 
of invasion, and whose highest conception of duty was to 
enforce the measures of the political party in power. The 
College of the State, grand old alma-mater of statesmen, 
jurists, scholars and divines, a nursery in which wisdom 
and virtue had impressed their great truths upon the youth 
of the State through generations, was made a hot-bed in 
which to nourish the weeds of passion, prejudice, and 
spleen, and from which was disseminated among ignorant 
negroes, a false philosophy and a perverted history. School- 
houses and academies, under State patronage and State 
supervision, were presided over by imported teachers, who, 
between the spelling-book and the black-board, would sup 
plement their professed missionary work by endeavoring to 
fix in the young negro s mind a bitter hatred of the white 
people who were once their masters. Under varied pretexts 
the public treasury had been plundered and the public 
debt increased to such an extent that complete bankruptcy 
seemed to be the inevitable fate of the State. 

Such was the condition of South Carolina in 1876. Re 
volting as it may be to every honest person, this picture is 
not overdrawn. 

Aroused by these outrages, the people of South Carolina, 
to whom had come by right of inheritance, a duty of citi- 



388 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGEK. 

zenship more sacred than any obligation they could possi 
bly owe to so corrupt a government, appealing to the vir 
tuous everywhere, by a concerted action and manly courage, 
worthy of their sires, threw off this infamous government 
and organized one whose representatives were native-born 
citizens of known integrity and patriotism. This bloodless 
revolution has made the year 1876 as memorable in the an- 
nals of South Carolina as any in her eventful history. It 
restored the State government to those to whom it right 
fully belonged, and who were worthy of the high trust. It 
was the trium.ph of virtue over vice, the courage of truth 
over the cowardice of falsehood, and the spirit of the Anglo- 
Saxon race applauded the achievement even amid the 
snows of New England. 

The meeting of the Legislature of 1877 brought to Co 
lumbia many members, who in the golden period of the 
history of South Carolina, had maintained the honor of the 
State and kept bright her fair escutcheon. Among them 
was Mr. Memminger, returned from the goodly parish of 
St. Philips and St. Michaels, and by a constituency he had 
represented in this body from his early manhood. He was 
assigned to duty at his old post of honor, and as chairman 
of the Committee of Ways and Means, brought all the 
energies of his mind to w r ork to try, if possible, to restore 
the lost credit of the State. 

It would extend this work far beyond the scope intended 
were I to attempt to give in detail the disgusting revelations 
which were made when committees proceeded to investigate 
the affairs of the State and to ascertain the extent to which 
the public money had been appropriated to private uses, 
and the credit of the State compromised. At least two 
large volumes of reports, setting forth in detail the most 
disgraceful transactions, are to be found among the records 
of the State, and will no doubt give to some future histo 
rian ample material for a narrative of knavery unparalleled 



RETURN TO PRIVATE LIFE. 389 

in the annals of legislation. Let it now suffice to say that 
following these investigations all that it was possible to do 
was done to bring the most culpable of these offenders to 
a well-merited punishment. When men of honor at the 
North, irrespective of their political affiliations, ascertained 
that South Carolina was redeemed and the affairs of state 
restored to the management of men whose public and pri 
vate characters were known to be beyond reproach, a new 
life was infused into all business enterprises, and in every re 
spect the future of the State became more auspicious, promis 
ing a return, at no distant day, of prosperity to her citizens. 

It was at this session of the Legislature that Mr. Memmin- 
ger brought forward a bill to reorganize the South Carolina 
College. No one of her sons was more attached to his alma- 
mater and none more active or devoted in her service. 

While he was willing to recognize as a fact that education 
was necessary in order to fit the negro for the proper appre 
ciation of his functions of citizenship, and he was disposed 
to make the experiment and to urge the Legislature to make 
a liberal provision for this purpose, his knowledge of human 
nature assured him that it was best for both races that this 
training should be conducted at separate institutions. 

I regret th.at I have not been able to secure a report of his 
speech made in the House of Representatives upon this 
most important subject. Those who were present inform 
me that it was among the most logical and eloquent of the 
many that had been delivered by him in this body and had 
heretofore given direction to its legislation. 

With this session of the Legislature the public life of Mr. 
Memminger, to a certain extent, was brought to a close. 
With the adjournment of the House of Representatives he 
had appeared for the last time in this council chamber of his 
State, and as a legislator had rendered his last service to a 
constituency who had long honored him with their confi 
dence. 



390 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

Having done all that it was possible for him to do in aid 
ing his countrymen to bring back to the State the prosperity 
she had once known, he closed his long record of service in 
her behalf, leaving it to posterity, unsullied by a single rep 
rehensible act, and as clean as the motives that inspired his 
patriotism were pure and unselfish. 

It was at this time that a shadow fell across the hearth 
stone of Mr. Memminger a chilling shade that sooner or 
later pales the brightest lights of the happiest home a 
shadow coming from far in the infinite future, and reaching 
across the horizon of life, to envelop the form of some loved 
one in the mysterious veil of death. She who had been the 
love of his youth, the companion of his matured years, and 
the mother of his children, was now before him still and cold 
in death. The chord that had so long and so sweetly made 
perfect the harmony of his home was broken, and mute was 
the harp whose glad refrain had given joy to his soul as the 
years with their burdens of care went by. 

The death of Mrs. Memminger could not but deeply affect 
one who had the manly nature of her husband. At the 
grave of his wife he w r as, as in all things and under all cir 
cumstances, a sincere Christian. The faith of his religion 
gave to him an assurance that the severed ties- of his loves 
would again be united in an immortal state of existence, to 
which the grave was but a gateway, and with this assurance 
he moved on to meet the duties of life with the spirit and 
the manly courage that had always characterized his ac 
tions. 

One whose whole life has been one of labor, whose mind 
is yet active in its normal functions, whose physical 
strength remains to bless his old age, cannot live long with 
out some employment. To work has become a law of being 
which cannot be suspended without hastening the end of 
physical existence. He well knew that " absence of occu 
pation is not rest." Whether this fact in the history of 



RETURN TO PRIVATE LIFE. 391 

intelligent men had become known to Mr. Memminger, or 
whether he desired employment, without a consciousness of 
the operations of the law, it is not at all necessary to discuss 
here. His experiences could not have been exceptions to a 
general rule, in this respect; and he worked on to the end 
of a life protracted through more than four-score years. 
Full of honors, and held in the highest esteem among his 
fellow citizens; blessed with fortune, which always comes to 
reward the judicious labor of the prudent, he might have 
retired to the dignified seclusion of his charming home at 
Flat Rock, or spent the evening of his life with the loves of 
his "City by the Sea," 

It was about this time that the enterprise of uniting the 
commercial centers of the West to the seaboard at Charles 
ton, by a more direct line of railway than was then existing, 
was revived in the project of the Spartanburg and Asheville 
railroad. The route surveyed was deemed more practicable 
than the one located by Rabun Gap, and that had burdened 
the State with the attempted construction of the Blue Ridge 
railroad. Always ready to advance the interests of the 
State and to add to the commercial facilities of her leading 
seaport, Mr. Memminger accepted the presidency of this 
railway company, and brought to the discharge of this duty 
the earnest spirit and honest purpose which had always been 
his leading business characteristic. He held the office but a 
short time; long enough, however, to have made the con 
struction of the road an assured fact. He then resigned the 
presidency and transferred its responsibility to other hands. 

In the discharge of the routine duties of his extensive law 
practice, in the fostering care of the public schools of 
Charleston, with the loves of his elegant city home, or in the 
summer at Rock Hill, his well-spent life found a beautiful 
evening of entertainment and rational repose. He still con 
tinued to take a lively interest in public affairs, especially in 
such matters as affected the interests of the city in whose 



392 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGEE. 

welfare he had labored and spent the best years of his life. 
Charleston was visited by a calamity on the 31st of August, 
1886, unprecedented in the history of the cities of the United 
States. To the demoralizations of a long and unsuccessful 
war; to the wreck and the ruin of a protracted blockade of 
her port and bombardment, was now added the indescriba 
ble horrors of an earthquake that shook the devoted city to 
its foundations. While there have been many descriptions 
given of this appalling disaster; while in the shattered walls 
and marred features of many historic buildings the artist has 
made pictures to exhibit the effect of the terrible force that 
well nigh wrought the complete destruction of the city, no 
pen or skill of art can convey an adequate idea of the con 
sternation that overwhelmed the good people who, amid 
every disaster and under every circumstance of misfortune, 
remained to share the fate of their loved home. This mem 
orable event was not without those features of good that are 
more or less connected with all evil. Great calamities never 
befall individuals or communities but that there is aroused 
a sympathy which overcomes all ill-will, and in acts of gen 
erous kindness give expression to the best traits of our hu 
manity. Charleston contemned by those who only knew of 
the good city as the " Birthplace of Secession," and who were 
embittered against her citizens by the misrepresentations of 
malignant enemies the city that had been traduced by her 
rivals in commerce, and had been ridiculed in her misfor 
tunes of war, even by those she had once fostered, now re 
ceived good words of cheer from every section, and substan 
tial evidences of the fact that behind all censures and all 
jealousies, there was a respect for the historic place, and an 
admiration for her gallant citizens stronger than passion and 
superior to all prejudices. 

Among the many of her citizens who came to the relief 
of the stricken city, and whose energies were freely spent 
in meeting the greatest emergency in her history, none were 



RETURN TO PRIVATE LIFE. 393 

more devoted than her worthy mayor. Without delay he 
organized every force at his command for the restoration of 
the city, and in a few months had the satisfaction of seeing 
Charleston restored, at least in appearance, to as good, if 
not better, condition than before the earthquake filled her 
streets with shattered walls and broken columns. In this 
work the city administration met with so much opposition 
to the plans adopted as to threaten with delay the restora 
tion of the city. At this juncture of affairs Mr. Memmin- 
ger published the following " open letter," which had the 
desired effect, and the city administration continued its 
great work without further molestation : 

To the Hon. Wm. A. Courtney, Mayor of Charleston : 

The writer of this article is a reader of history, and he has in his 
reading frequently been called to notice the fact that every important 
achievement has been the work of some one man. This man has 
planned, and really been the efficient agent of the work, and if he had 
never lived, the work would probably never have had existence. 

It seems to me, therefore, that where in any community, an individ 
ual takes hold of an enterprise, which it is evident that he completely 
understands and is eminently fitted to promote, that it exhibits great 
unwisdom in that community to check his zeal or to tie his hands. 

We need some such person to come to our aid at this time, when so 
many calamities have fallen upon our unfortunate city, and I am one of 
those who think that you have the qualities which can help us to over 
come our difficulties. I am, therefore, much concerned to see that there 
are persons among us who are endeavoring to discourage your efforts, 
and I have thought it might repress their action, if they knew how 
much a single individual has been able to effect under like, or even 
more untoward, circumstances. 

In 1755, about 130 years ago, the earthquake occurred which de 
stroyed the city of Lisbon, with 60,000 of its inhabitants; this catastro 
phe occurred at a most unfortunate time, for an unwise King had just 
wasted the entire contents of his treasury in erecting a useless and very 
expensive building, and when he died could not command money 
enough for the expenses of his funeral. 

With his capital in ruins, his people disheartened, and every public 
institution in a state of destitution, the Marquis of Pombal, one of the 
statesmen of Portugal, had the courage to take in hand the reins of 
government. The people had the good sense to trust him, and in 
twenty-seven years the capital was rebuilt, and under the judicious 



394 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

management of the minister, the army and navy was restored, the pub 
lic institutions all set in healthy action, and with one hundred and sixty- 
six millions of money collected and deposited in the treasury, he re 
signed his office, and delivered up his country to the prosperity which 
followed him. 

Now there is no reason why, in some other country, another statesman 
with equal zeal and less resources, may not at least come within sight 
of like achievements; and with the success which has attended what 
you have accomplished, it seems to me that these fault-finders had 
better stay their hands, but above all, that you should disregard their 
complaints, and go on, according to your own judgment, and follow the 
noble example which I have cited. There are many of us, your fellow- 
citizens, who are looking on, and who will most cordially receive the re 
sults, which we believe will follow your exertions here, as they have 
followed the very successful fire department of Charleston. 

(Signed) C. G. MEMMINGER. 

With increased years came the failure of the strong physi 
cal constitution of Mr. Memminger, and to such an extent 
that the active duties of his law office were transferred to his 
junior partner. 

There is nothing that brings more satisfaction, that gives 
a more substantial joy to old age, than the realization of a 
successful and a well-spent life. Add to this the respect of an 
appreciative people, their proper recognition of his merit, and 
the good man s cup is full. 

Mr. Memminger lived to realize all of this; to receive in 
public and in private the sincere expressions of a grateful 
people s regard, and finally to pass the dividing line between 
time and eternity with their blessings as a most gracious 
benediction. 

In recognition of his services to the city and to the State, 
the Legislature of South Carolina authorized the Board of 
Education in Charleston to erect a suitable memorial of the 
work that had so long engaged the mind of Mr. Memminger, 
and to which he had devoted himself in the most unselfish 
manner. I can give no better description of the memorial, 
and of the handsome manner in which it was placed among 
the treasures of Charleston, than by transferring to these 



RETURN TO PRIVATE LIFE. 395 

pages the report of the ceremonies on the occasion of its re 
ception by the mayor and city council. 

The following report of these proceedings is taken from the 
Charleston Courier of March 1, 1888: 

The unveiling of the marble bust of the Hon. C. G. Memminger, in 
the city council chamber yesterday afternoon, was a significant event. 
The ceremonies took place in the presence of quite a large assemblage of 
the friends and supporters of education in this city, and, considering the 
shining worth of the man whom they were designed to honor, they were 
of that impressive character that befitted the man and the occasion. 

Something of the origin of the ceremony will not be inappropriate at 
this time. On November 4, 1885, Mr. Memminger s advancing years in 
duced him to withdraw from his wonted activity as chairman of the pub 
lic school board, which position he had held for nearly the third of a cen 
tury. The first proposition of the board from which he had retired was 
tohave his portrait painted and hung in the parlor of the Memminger 
School. It was, however, subsequently deemed more suitable by the 
board that his gratuitous services for thirty-three years in the cause of 
education merited a more formal and public recognition. But having 
no authority for any considerable expenditure of money, the board laid 
the matter before the General Assembly of South Carolina, and by an 
act of the Legislature they were authorized to expend such a sum as in 
their judgment would secure the execution of a suitable public memorial 
of Mr. Memminger s able and highly appreciated work. The commis 
sioners thought that public expectation would be satisfied and pleased 
with a memorial embracing a marble bust and pediment, and sent a 
commission to confer with Valentine, the distinguished Virginian sculp 
tor. This was in 1886, the committee consisting of Messrs. Julian Mitch 
ell, G. W. Dingle, Dr. II. Baer and Judge Simonton, ex-officio chairman 
of the board of commissioners. As a result of their arrangements the 
bust was received last fall, but owing to some necessary delay the pedi 
ment was not received until later. 

The bust has been inspected by Mr. Memminger and his immediate 
family, who have expressed themselves as much gratified with the like 
ness and general truth to nature of the admirable work of art. As a 
work of art, indeed, it has been pronounced by competent judges who 
have traveled abroad, to be as fine as any sculpture that may be found in 
Westminster Abbey. 

It was also decided that the most suitable place for the memorial 
was in the council chamber, and upon application to that body the 
council unanimously granted the position which it now occupies along 
the south wall adjacent to Trumble s full length portrait of Washington 
and Valentine s bust of Robert Y. Hayne. 



396 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

The following is the inscription on the pediment: 

OT.hrisfoph.rr (Btisf nuns Hlcwminrjcr, 

Founder 
of the Present Public School System in Charleston. 

The City Board of School Commissioners, 
with the Approval of the Legislature of South Carolina, 

Erect this Memorial, 

In Grateful Appreciation of his Services for 
Thirty-three Years. 

* Heaven doth with us as we with torches do : 
Not light them for themselves ; for if our virtues 
Did not go forth of us, twere all alike 
As if we had them not." 

1887. 

Upon the organization of the new board of school commissioners the 
committee who undertook the arrangements for the memorial were 
continued in their office and Ex-Mayor Courtenay was added to the 
number. 

It was this committee that arranged all the details for the unveiling 
yesterday afternoon. Owing to the limited space in the council cham 
ber it was found absolutely necessary to issue invitations to only such a 
number of ladies and gentlemen as could be comfortably seated in 
the chamber. There were present the teachers in the public schools, 
the trustees of the College of Charleston, of the High School, the aca 
demic board of the South Carolina Military Academy, members of Mr. 
Memminger s family, the senators and representatives from Charleston 
and a few distinguished guests, among whom was Dr. Green, of Boston ; 
a member of the board of trustees of the Peabody fund, and Col. J. PI. 
Rice, State superintendent of education. 

Five o clock yesterday afternoon was appointed as the hour for the 
unveiling ceremonies. At that time the council chamber was well 
filled by the invited guests and the members of the city council, for all 
of whom chairs were provided. 

On the rostrum were Mayor Bryan, Judge Simonton, Ex-Mayor 
Courtenay, the Rev. A. Toomer Porter, D. D., D. M. O Driscoll, C. F. 
Panknin, G. W. Dingle, II. Baer, Julian Mitchell, the Rev. Dr. G. R. 
Brackett, the Rev. R. N. Wells, the Hon. James Simons, Mr. H. P. Archer, 
Dr. Samuel A. Green, of Boston ; Col. J. PI. Rice, State superintendent 
of education; Miss Simonton, principal of the Memminger School; Miss 
Daisy Smith, Judge Magrath and Ex-School Commissioner L. E. Cordray. 

At a few minutes after 5 o clock the folding doors of the clerk s room 
parted and forty young ladies of the Memminger School filed into the 
chamber and took position on the east side of the hall, where they sang 
"My Country, tis of Thee." At the request of Mayor Bryan, Dr. A. 
Toomer Porter then offered up a prayer, which was as follows : 



RETURN TO PRIVATE LIFE. 397 

DR. PORTER S PRAYER. 

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom and knowledge : We 
thank Thee that Thou didst make man in Thine image, and though 
greatly marred by his fall that he still possesses faculties for acquiring 
the knowledge of things temporal and eternal. We thank Thee that 
Thou hast endowed some of Thy creatures with strength of mind and 
largeness of heart by which their ability and interest are given for the 
welfare of their fellow-men. We thank Thee that among us one was 
raised up whose zeal for the improvement of his kind led him to give 
his great intelligence to the improvement of our schools and to the ele 
vation of the standard of general education. We have come to dedicate 
to his honor, and thereby to perpetuate his memory, this marble bust 
that future generations, appreciating the reason of this distinction by 
his fellow-citizens, may hold him in grateful remembrance, and that this 
tribute may stimulate others to give their talents for the welfare of so 
ciety. May we all learn that it is righteousness which exalteth a 
nation, and that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. 

But, vanity of vanities, all is vanity, aye, infirmity, death and the 
grave are the lot of all. Into these Thy servant, whom we would honor, 
is now passing. We commend him to Thy love and mercy, and pray 
that his good work may be remembered in that day when we shall all 
be judged for the deeds done in the body, and shall be rewarded as 
they be good or evil. We commend our schools, children and teachers ; 
these to whom the interest of education are entrusted, our city, our 
State, our country, to Thy guidance and protection, and offer all our 
petitions through the mediation of Thy only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, 
our Lord. Amen. 

The young ladies then sang " Old Friends and Old Times," during 
which the bust and pediment were unveiled. 

Miss DAISY SMITH S ADDRESS. 

Upon the conclusion of the song Miss Daisy P. Smith, a graduate of 
the Memminger School, delivered the following introductory address, 
with much feeling and grace : 

l/>. Chairman and Gentlemen of the City Board of School Commis 
sioners, To me has been accorded the privilege of voicing the sen 
timent of all our citizens on this interesting occasion, the unveiling of 
the image of him who for three eventful decades has been the guiding 
spirit in our educational interests. 

There are times when words are incompetent for the expression of 
the heart s emotions and when the voice is too feeble to call an echo 
from the recesses of feeling which nature guards most jealously. Es 
pecially true do we find this now that we have the privilege of express 
ing our appreciation of one who has fought so nobly for the youth of 



398 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

Charleston, who took up the children s cause and concentrated all his 
energies on the establishment of a system of public schools, where the 
young might cultivate their minds and hearts and fashion them in the 
mould of which he unconsciously furnished so bright an example. 

In 1855, Colonel Memminger and Messrs. Bennett, Bee, Bryan, 
Magrath, Lebby, Russell, Furman, Richards, Buist, Jervey and others 
remodelled the old system of State free schools and established the 
graded-school system, which to-day signalizes our State and city as a 
great source of public education and advancement. When the sun of 
their lives had reached its meridian they consecrated heart and hand to 
their noble work, and " pressed forward toward the mark of the high 
calling " assigned to them, with only the aid of hope and faith. 

But there is one amidst this group of honored men whose name is 
engraved most deeply on the hearts of the pupils and graduates of the 
Memminger School, whose love and patronage have been especially 
theirs, and whose life has for long years been blended with theirs as the 
patriarch of one large family. His name is graven at the portals of 
its halls; he is held in grateful remembrance by us all, but especially 
by those who have had the good fortune to come beneath his guidance 
and protection. Colonel Memminger fully comprehended the depth of 
woman s nature, and realized the fact that the world cannot rise by 
man s elevation alone; that in accordance with Divine law, the intellec 
tual (as well as the material) world is held in its true orbit by the com 
bined influences of two varied but equivalent forces. 

With the spirit of a knight, he fought for woman s elevation, buildv 
ing, with the granite blocks of a thorough education, from the founda 
tion, slowly, but surely upwards to the position of his ideal, a basis 
worthy of all noble women. He loved his ideal and wrought to mould 
it perfectly. He became her friend and the protector of her rights, but 
not such rights as we hear demanded from the rostrum; not these, for 
by her endeavor to fill such offices, woman loses her characteristic privi 
leges, those of being the gentle influence in the chaos of violent force 
and will, the loving sister, gentle wife and tender mother, calling forth 
the softer side of his nature. For these he worked and opened to them 
the doors of an advantage which is all too sadly neglected while the 
opportunity lasts. 

Could the girls of our State realize the value of the privileges offered 
them by these institutions of learning; could they appreciate the lustre 
which education gives to woman, our halls would ring with triple the 
number of voices that quiver through them now, and the image which 
stands unveiled before us to-day would be the object of a purer devotion 
than that which inspired the pagans of ancient days. 

Many are and have been interested in us, and many have furnished 
as great pecuniary assistance as Colonel Memminger, but none beside 
him have labored for thirty long years to influence public opinion, with- 



RETURN TO PRIVATE LIFE. 399 

standing the storm of opposition in two sessions of the Legislature, and 
meeting and defeating all obstacles with an indomitable will. He fal 
tered before no foe but age. We reverence the silvery head which, un 
til lately, bent faithfully and lovingly o er its task. 

We cannot realize how hard it must be for the once active brain to 
be no longer busied in the interests it loved so well, or for the hands to 
lie idle while their work becomes that of others ; but it seems as if it 
must be like unto the sadness of the mother when she sees her child go 
forth from her care and watchfulness, and feels that the silken cords 
which bound mother and child as protector and dependent are loosened 
forever. But through the halls of affection and gratitude his spirit 
shall walk a welcome guest, and every lineament of his countenance 
shall be graven, not only on thy chaste stone, oh, statue ! but on the 
tablets of loving hearts. 

JUDGE SIMONTON S ADDRESS. 

Mr. Mayor and Gentlemen of the City Council^ This occasion is full of 
interest, yet mournful, for we stand within the shadow of the grave. 
You crown the effort we have made in recognition of the merit of a 
most \vorthy and most venerable fellow-citizen. 

In November, 1885, Mr. Memminger, pressed by the infirmities of age 
terminated his connection with the city board of school commissioners. 
For more than the life of a generation he had filled the post of chair 
man, and had led the board by his counsels. His associates could not 
permit the occasion to pass without an expression of the value of his 
long and arduous service to the community in this important position. 
On the motion of Mr. Mitchell, it was resolved that a bust of Mr. Mem 
minger in marble be procured to be placed in some conspicuous loca 
tion. The General Assembly of the State, without a dissenting voice, 
sanctioned this use of the public money. Mr. Memminger gratified the 
wish of the board. The services of Mr. Edward V. Valentine, of Rich 
mond, whose genius had illustrated the tomb of General R. E. Lee, were 
secured. This exquisite work of art which has just been unveiled is the 
result. We have before us the living, speaking, characteristic likeness 
of Mr. Memminger. 

If any man in this community deserves this marked expression of 
public gratitude for public service, that man is the Hon. C. G. Memmin 
ger. Himself a conspicuous example of the great advantage of early 
and careful intellectual training, he has more than repaid his debt to 
them by becoming the educator of this community. 

From the earliest period of her colonial history, this Commonwealth 
has realized the necessity for public and free education. By private 
munificence and public bounty it was sought to supply this necessity. 
Free schools were founded when the colonists were contending for exis 
tence with foes without and foes within our borders. And so all along 



400 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

her progress South Carolina kept up her care for the education of the 
masses. But, for the want of a proper system and of needed discipline, 
these efforts did not produce the success they deserved. Our free schools, 
even in the more dense population of towns and villages, reached no 
high standard. They were resorted to only when it was impossible to 
secure private instruction. In 1855 a board of commissioners was se 
lected for this city, filled with men of more enlightened and progressive 
views on the subject of education, among these were Mr. Memminger 
and Mr. W. J. Bennett. It must always be remembered that to Mr, 
Bennett also must be accorded full praise as a pioneer in the new work 
of the board. These two gentlemen realized that a change of system 
was needed in the schools. With great earnestness and care they inves 
tigated the whole subject. By personal visit and examination they be 
came satisfied w r ith the education of the public school system which has 
done so much for New England. They induced its introduction into our 
schools. Their active energy inaugurated the system. Their watchful 
care fostered, encouraged and established it. 

Mr. Memminger,. at that time, was one of the leaders of the Bar, and 
was enjoying a very large practice. Notwithstanding the absorbing 
cares of the most absorbing profession, he entered with his whole soul 
into the work of the schools. He devoted much of his valuable time in 
promoting, maintaining and finally in placing on a permanent basis our 
present admirable system. He achieved wonderful success. His influ 
ence has extended beyond the limits of this city. All over South Caro 
lina are springing up graded schools based upon the same system. Ev- 
rywhere is felt the reviving breath of new life in our public schools. 

Our Board, Mr. Mayor, have signified by this marble bust their appre 
ciation of Mr. Memminger s work as their leader and associate. His 
real monument, more enduring even than this beautiful and perfect 
marble, is the admirable schools, the pride and ornament of this city, 
erected, aided, improved and established by his energy, and the thou 
sands and tens of thousands of children educated and to be educated 
within its walls. 

This is not the time nor is this the occasion for any eulogy upon Mr. 
Memminger. Your thoughtful kindness has given us a place for our 
testimonial. It is most proper that he should occupy a niche in this 
hall, filled w r ith memorials of our distinguished men. A great lawyer, 
he was the contemporary and no unworthy rival of Petigru. 

He realized the hope of Hayne, to which that great man sacrificed 
his life. He pierced the mountain ranges of Western North Carolina, 
and opened a passage for the iron horse to the ocean. 

He gave of the wealth of his intellect, and many valuable hours to 
.the public weal, and ranks with Enston among the public benefactors. 

In behalf of the City Board of School Commissioners, I now leave 
this bust in your custody. No more appropriate place can there be for 



RETURN TO PRIVATE LIFE. 401 

it than in the people s palace ; no better guardian of it than this honor 
able body, which cedes, mores, juraque nostra curat. 

The next thing on the programme was " Music, Sweet Music," which 
was sung by the young ladies. 

MAYOR BRYAN ACCEPTS THE BUST. 

The last address was by Mayor Bryan, who said: 

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the Board of School Commissioners, and 
Ladies and Gentlemen, I count it a great privilege as the official repre 
sentative of the people of Charleston to be permitted to say a brief 
word in the proceedings of this most interesting occasion. We are here 
to take part in a ceremony and render a tribute most fitting in a com 
munity and country like ours where the will of the people is law, and 
where government to be a blessing must be enlightened and governed 
by law. It is, indeed, a truism to say that education, diffused and uni 
versal, is the foundation of free institutions ; but it is to recognize and 
emphasize that vital truth, and to do honor to the friend of popular ed 
ucation that we have assembled here to-day. The inborn instincts of 
mankind pay unstinted homage to the great rulers of the world the 
soldier, the statesman, the orator, and as well to the poet, the painter, 
the sculptor, the musician. 

Monuments, statues, busts, marbles and bronzes everywhere abound, 
land tell of the admiration that waits upon excellence in these re- 
fnowned fields of achievement. These favorites of nature can take care 
of themselves. They* need not the thoughtful care of their kind. It is 
our especial duty to bestow that thoughtful care upon a worker in a 
very different field remote from the crowd the truest friend and bene 
factor of the people, and chiefest conservator of their liberties and their 
free institutions. It is in recognition of such a benefactor and to make 
enduring memorial of such services that we have unveiled the bust 
which reveals to us and will reveal to the most distant posterity the fea 
tures of C. Gustavus Memminger, the author of the present common 
school system of Charleston. You have had from the distinguished gen 
tleman who has preceded me the story of his work, and it only remains 
for me to say that the city council of Charleston accepts the care of this 
memorial. 

The exercises of the occasion were concluded by the singing of " Auld 
Lang Syne," a very appropriate selection, to the spirit of which the 
young ladies did ample justice. The accompaniments to all the songs 
were played by Prof. T. D. Euddock, teacher of music in the city public 
schools. 

The benediction by the Rev. R. N. Wells, pastor of Trinity M. E. 
Church, closed a most eventful and interesting occasion. 



402 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

While his fellow-citizens were paying this deserved tribute 
to his worth; while they were in this enduring form preserv- 
-ing the features of the man who had so well honored himself 
in their service, he was at his home, wasted with the suf 
ferings of a malady that in a few days was to end his life. 
His accomplished son, Dr. Allard Memminger, with the 
counsel and the experience of Dr. Middleton Michel aiding 
him, had brought to the relief of the suffering patriot and 
statesman all that the solicitude of love, or the skill of 
science could suggest or devise; but neither love nor skill 
could mend the cord which, long fretted with the cares of 
life, at last was broken, and on the night of the 7th of March 
the life of the good and the great man went out 

As fades the morning star, 
Which goes not down behind a darkened west, 
Nor sets obscured amid the tempest of the skies ; 
But melts away in the light of Heaven. 

The death of Mr. Memminger, although not unexpected, 
brought an unfeigned sorrow to the community of Charles 
ton, and to many throughout the country. To him it was a 
release from suffering, an end of all care; to his stricken 
family it was stilling forever the great heart of love that had 
so long cherished them; to many it was breaking the cord 
that had bound them to the good man in sincerest friend 
ship, and to his country, it was the removal of one whose 
greatest honors had been found in his devotion to her wel 
fare. Death is by no means the greatest misfortune that 
can befall a good man. To one who has faithfully served 
his generation, who has no remorse of soul to cloud the re 
ceding horizon of life, who has lived to a noble end; who 
in deeds of generous kindness, and with words of cheer, has 
lit the weary way of many a sorrowing one with the light of 
his love; to whom great age and honors and wealth had 
come, the blessings of a well-spent life death comes " with 
friendly care " and brings, even in its gloom, the hope of 



HIS DEATH AND FUNERAL. 403 

another and an immortal life of bliss. It was thus with Mr. 
Mernminger. 

In compliance with a request made by him, when con 
scious that he was dying, his body was taken to his lovely 
country home at Flat Rock, North Carolina, and buried 
amid the peaceful shades of its cemetery. 

I extract from the Charleston Courier the following account 
of the services held at St. Paul s Episcopal church, of which 
he was a member: 

The funeral services of the late Hon. C- G. Memminger took place at 
St. Paul s church at four o clock yesterday afternoon. The attendance 
at the church was very large. Besides many citizens, there were in at 
tendance the members of the Charleston Bar, commissioners of various 
city boards, teachers of the public schools, members of the city council 
and a number of our most prominent citizens, among whom were Mayor 
Bryan, Ex-Governor Magrath, Mr. A. C. Kaufman, president of the Van- 
derbilt Association, and others. The funeral cortege, consisting of fifty 
carriages, reached the church promptly at four o clock. The casket was 
borne into the church by the following pall-bearers: 

Seniors. Mr. Montague Grimke, Hon. W. A. Courtenay, Hon. Edward 
McCrady, Dr. Middleton Michel, Mr. Julian Mitchell, Mr. H. P. Archer, 
Mr. J. Grange Simons, Hon. C. H. Simonton, Mr. C. F. Hanckle, Mr. B.F. 
Whaley. Juniors. General Ed. McCrady, Mr. L. G. Trenholm, Mr. B. F. 
Alston, Mr. C. S. Burnett, Mr. A. Mazyck, Hon. James Simons, Mr. C. A. 
Chisolm, Mr. W. S. Hastie. 

The floral offerings were many and elegant, made of the choicest 
flowers from the private gardens of the city, and yet others of French 
immortelles. Of the latter, one in the form of a large anchor, in white 
flowers, bore the initials " C. G. M." on the cross-piece, and on the curve 
of the anchor below, the inscription, "Public Schools," in purple flowers. 
This offering was from the City Board of School Commissioners. 

The services were read by Rev. W. H. Campbell, rector of St. Paul s, 
and the Rev. C. C. Pinckney, D. D., rector of Grace church. The music 
was very solemn and impressive, being feelingly rendered by the large 
choir. There was no sermon or eulogy. At the close of the services, the 
casket, preceded by the officiating ministers, was taken out of the church, 
the choir chanting the Lord s Prayer. The remains were then taken to 
the Line-street station of the South Carolina railroad, where the casket 
was enclosed in a box of solid oak, bound with nickel, and was placed on 
the outgoing train and taken to Flat Rock, the summer residence of the 
deceased, under an escort of honor. The family accompanied the remains 
in a special car. 



404 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

In no city of America are the deeds of her worthy citizens 
more highly appreciated, their virtues more applauded, and 
their renown better preserved than in Charleston. No 
Roman ever pointed the youth of his country to the achieve 
ments of her great men with more pride, or with a higher 
sense of their virtues; none honor themselves better in the 
respect they pay to their illustrious dead, than do the good 
people of this city, the "Nice of America." Many tributes 
have been paid to the worth of Mr. Memminger, but none 
have been more sincerely expressed or more worthy of the 
dead statesman, lawyer and patriot, than those which came 
from the Bar of Charleston when his death was formally an 
nounced to the court in session. 

The following report of the proceedings had on this occa 
sion is taken from the Charleston papers of that date: 

At the opening of the Court of General Sessions yesterday morning. 
Judge Pressley, presiding, Solicitor Jervey arose, and said: "May it 
please your Honor, it is with sorrow and sadness that I announce the 
death of the Hon. CHRISTOPHER GUSTAVUS MEMMINGER, the oldest mem 
ber of the Bar, who died at his residence, in this city, evening before 
last, at the advanced age of eighty-five years. I move that a commit 
tee be appointed who shall prepare and submit resolutions appropriate 
to this occasion." 

This motion was seconded by Judge A. G. Magrath, and being unani 
mously adopted, Judge Pressley appointed the following committee : 
Messrs. "YV. St. Julien Jervey, A. G. Magrath, James Simons, C. R. Miles, 
B. H. Rutledge, Ed. McCrady, Jr., and W. H. Brawley. 

Mr. J. K. Blackman, the court stenographer, was appointed to act as 
secretary of the meeting. 

The committee then retired to prepare its report. In the court-room 
at the time were the following members of the Bar: Messrs. H. E. 
Young, Theodore Barker, G. II. Sass, J. P. Lessens, J. M. Bacot, Lang- 
don Cheves, A. D. Cohen, Julian Mitchell, H. A. M. Smith, G. Lamb 
Buist, Henry Buist, A. G. Magrath, Jr., John F. Ficken, Isaac Hayne, 
W. M. Fitch, G. W. Dingle, J. E. Burke, A. T. Smythe, A. M. Lee, W. H. 
Parker, Jr., E. "W. Hughes, Arthur Mazyck, L. DeB. McCrady, Clement 
S. Bissell, J. Ancrum Simons, B. R. Burnet, Mathie Gourdin. 

The committee, after a short absence, returned into court, and Mr. 
Jervey announced that they were ready to report. 



TRIBUTES TO HIS MEMORY. 405 

In submitting the resolutions Mr. Jervey spoke as follows : In the 
general routine and progression of our duties as members of our hon 
ored profession, we are naturally so occupied and engrossed in the 
mimic warfare in which we are engaged, that we are apt to lose sight 
of, an^L temporarily forget those of our brethren, who having served 
their time and fought their battles, have turned aside from the path of 
contention, and sought peace and rest in the evening of their day. 
Naturally then there is a shock to each of us, when suddenly we are 
arrested in our career, and when we are aroused from our absorption of 
interest and occupation by the announcement that one of our eldest 
brethren, one of the leaders and exemplars of our craft, has paid the 
last tribute to nature and departed from us forever. In the presence of 
these, his friends, who are here for the purpose of doing honor to his 
memory, I need say nothing in his praise. They are here moved and 
actuated by their admiration of the man, and by their affection for 
their friend. They came here, many of them, equipped with the expe 
rience of a longer acquaintance, and with far greater ability than I can 
claim, to express their admiration of his qualities and their grief at 
his loss in fitting terms of eloquent speech. But while the official duty 
which devolves upon me, in place of the Attorney-General, is discharged 
in simply making the announcement of his death, I would not be true 
to the sentiments of personal regard, which I have always held for Mr. 
Memminger, unless I paid personal tribute to the high qualities and 
characteristics, which we are here to honor. I shall not speak of him as 
the statesman that page of his life is written in the proceedings of the 
General Assembly of the State he so much loved, for twenty-five years; 
in the brief and checkered history of the Confederate States. Nor shall 
I speak of him as the friend of education; beautiful and enduring monu 
ments of his labor and success in this department of his life, exists now 
in the schools which have been erected throughout this city, and the 
system of their government, and in the life-like bust, which has within 
the last few days, been unveiled in the council-chamber amidst the en 
dowments of a grateful community, and the sweet smiles of those who 
illustrate the success of his work. I shall not speak of him as the pro 
moter of commerce and manufactures. Monuments as enduring as 
brass will ever remain in the iron road-way, binding us to the great 
West, and in the humming wheels of our factories. 

Nor yet shall I speak of him as the financier. There, again, history 
has made him immortal. As the Christian gentleman he was pre-emi 
nent, and his name appears in the annals of his Church as being always 
in the front rank of those who gave their time and their talent for the 
advancement of an enlightened and progressive Christianity. His chari 
ties will make him long remembered and lamented by the poor and 
needy, and the widow and the orphan will rise up and call him blessed. 



406 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGEE. 

But I shall speak of him in that relation in which he was nearest to us; 
that relation in which, as members of the Bar, we were most brought 
within his influence and admired him as the lawyer. He filled the va 
rious requirements of this complex and difficult character 1 with great 
faithfulness. He was possessed of great astuteness in analyzing a com 
plicated case; almost by intuition he would put his finger tip on the cru 
cial point of controversy, and oftentimes before- the anxious client would 
conclude his tale the real difficulty was discerned and the remedy pro 
posed. He was never idle. I have heard him say that more time was 
wasted in deciding what to do very often than was necessary for the do 
ing of it. He was a student. When not engaged on some living ques 
tion of his practice, he was always, while in the office, reading the latest 
decision of the courts or the latest books of authority. Perhaps his 
greatest attribute as a lawyer was his clearness, terseness and force of 
expression. He would say more in a few words than any man I have 
ever heard. He seldom indulged in figures and warmth of speech, but 
would follow his subject closely, and by syllogistic argument eliminate 
matter extraneous to the question at issue. He was brief and to the 
point ; clear and emphatic. When, after working in his office I was ad 
mitted to practice, he gave me the following advice : Never speak unless 
you have something to say, and when you have said it sit down. This 
explains the brief terseness and clearness of his own utterances. With 
all these qualities of the great lawyer, Mr. Memminger was the kind and 
patient preceptor; the forbearing and indulgent chief. During the 
two years in which I read law under his direction, and the eight years 
during which I had the honor to practice with him, I remember no occa 
sion in which he set down aught of failure or want of success in any 
matter or case entrusted to me, to anything which would reflect on my 
care, ability or attention to the duties assigned. He was ever ready 
with counsel and advice in matters in which I was interested, and even 
after the dissolution of our business relations, I never in vain sought his 
counsel. During the period of his greatest ascendancy as a lawyer, 
when he made his greatest reputation, I did not know him; that being 
before my time, and I will leave it to those who are here, and who then 
knew him, to speak. We of my generation have but seen the. reflec 
tion of his mighty past. 

THE RESOLUTIONS. 

Resolved, That in the death of the Hon. C. G. Memminger, while we 
recognize with grateful hearts that he has been blessed with many days 
of usefulness more than the span of three score years and ten we, his 
brethren of the Bar, feel deeply afflicted and grieved at his removal. 

Resolved, That while in his death the country has lost a statesman, 
the State a patriot, the community a benefactor, this Bar has lost one of 
the most profound jurists, one of the most powerful advocates, one of the 



TRIBUTES TO HIS MEMORY. 407 

most exemplary practitioners, whose name has ever been inscribed upon 
our rolls and each one of us a friend. 

Eesolved, That we deeply sympathize with his family in their afflic 
tion, and that a copy of these resolutions be sent to them. 

Resolved, That his Honor be requested to direct these resolutions to 
be entered upon the minutes of the court and be published in the daily 
papers of this city. 

JUDGE MAGRATH S REMARKS. 

Judge A. G. Magrath seconded the resolutions and very beautifully 
alluded to the high qualities of the deceased at the Bar and in all the 
walks of life. He spoke of the high standard which Mr. Memminger 
held, a lawyer should always maintain, and said that in his relations with 
him, whether associate or adversary, he had always found in him the 
same high-toned example of what a practitioner at the bar should be. 
It was not strange that with such lights as were before him he should, in 
regard to the tone of his profession, have pitched it in its highest key. 
There were then Thos. S. Grimke, Hugh S. Legare, Benj. F. Dunkin, Jas. L. 
Petigru, Harper, David Johnson, Judge King, and many others, who 
illustrated the highest standard of professional honor. Inferior to them 
only so far as years were concerned, Mr. Memminger, even with those 
gentlemen, was marked not only as an able disputant, but a formidable 
adversary when they were brought in collision with him. They, contin 
ued the speaker, are all gone, their light has faded away, and now, with 
but one exception one whose name (Mr. Edward McCrady, Sr.) will re 
cur to you at once one whose name it would be too painful for me to 
mention in that connection with but that one exception, the lawyers of 
that time and generation have passed away forever. When you lay your 
tribute on the tomb of Mr. Memminger, you have closed that book and 
chapter of the legal professional history of the State. For honor, learn 
ing, power in debate, in so far as he could at the Bar advance the cause 
and truth of justice, he was the equal of any of the best that preceded 
him. He may well be exhibited to us as a worthy example. 

REMARKS OF MR. SIMONS. 

The Hon. James Simons next seconded the resolutions. He said: 
May it please your Honor, in seconding the resolutions before you, I feel 
that this is, indeed, a solemn occasion. We are here to pause in the rest 
less activity of life; to contemplate the death of one of the most distin 
guished lawyers who has ever occupied a place in the ranks of our pro 
fession of one of the most eminent of our fellow-citizens. Having 
known Mr. Memminger from my earliest recollections, and, coming to the 
Bar when he was in the zenith of his remarkable career, I had the oppor 
tunity of appreciating to the fullest extent those characteristics which 



408 LIFE AND TIMES OF C. G. MEMMINGER. 

earned him the reputation which, living, he enjoyed, and which, now he 
is dead, will preserve his name in the history of the State. 

Many able men who have occupied prominent places in our calling; 
who in their day and generation, in this court-house, have commanded 
the admiration of the Bench, their brethren, and the public, by their 
power, their learning, their ability, or their eloquence, have gone to their 
long rest, and ar